Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - December 18, 2008

From: Iron Bridge, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Trees
Title: Seasoning oak for burning
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an oak on my property that has been dead for at least two years. It has produced no leaves. When I cut it down (it was 93 inches around), it looked extremely healthy. We split it up and my father-in-law has had a horrible time burning it. He says that it was dead in the extremities, but the main trunk was still "green". Is this possible??

ANSWER:

We suspect that your father-in-law is right, not using "green" in the context of still being alive, but as meaning the wood has not aged in the proper conditions long enough. Not being personally experienced in this practice (you don't burn trees in Texas if you can help it), we found an excellent website, Woodheat.org, How to prepare your firewood supply that gives very explicit instructions on how to deal with this problem. One thing we learned was that improperly stacking the wood in a too-crowded condition to season it can cause mold to grow on the wood and then be transmitted into the house when the wood is brought in to the fireplace, not a good thing. You may have to recut and/or restack the wood from your tree, and maybe wait another year to use it, but apparently oak is one of the most difficult woods to properly season for use in indoor fires.

 

More Trees Questions

Why will my Butternut trees not produce nuts in Tennessee?
May 06, 2009 - I have 2 butternut trees planted about 20 ft from each other. I see the long blossoms on each tree but I have not gotten any nuts from either tree. I do not know if I have a male and female or if th...
view the full question and answer

Problem with flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolatta)
July 14, 2008 - My Flameleaf Sumac appears to have an insect infestation in the bark which oozes a sappy sticky substance. This has apparently caused one of the limbs to die. Will it kill the whole plant and is there...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Shaping of native hawthorns
October 21, 2007 - I have three young hawthorns that were propagated from a nearby Blackland prairie stand. If I limb them up, will that encourage them to branch more near the top, or will it just ruin the form altoget...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.