En Español

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

Will deer eat lemon cypress trees from Hayden ID
June 02, 2012 - Do deer eat lemon cypress trees? We do not think so since they are so spiny, but wanted a clarification.
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Madrones in Michigan?
November 01, 2010 - Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".
view the full question and answer

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
May 17, 2008 - How do I grow the lemon cypress in zone 7? I bought one today at Home Depot in Granbury,TX. It had no information. Should I put it in the shade or sun?
view the full question and answer

Healthy black walnut trees from volunteer saplings
May 07, 2008 - We just purchased a piece of property in the Texas Hill Country. There is a stump of a large black walnut tree that has four healthy looking samplings shooting up. Each is about 10 feet high. The o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center