Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

What is the best time of year to transplant a young pecan tree?
May 29, 2009 - What is the best time of year to transplant a young pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Pruning technique for Anacacho Orchid from Austin
May 18, 2011 - I have an Anacacho Orchid tree that is about 8 ft tall and still young. It is doing quite well. I have never pruned it, but lately I have been considering it as some of the top branches are starting t...
view the full question and answer

Susceptibility of Shumard oaks to oak wilt
March 25, 2006 - I have planted a red oak tree. I am still trying to locate the ID tag for the type. I planted it two or three years ago. I purchased the tree from either Lowes or Home Depot. Is there a type of red oa...
view the full question and answer

Striped caterpillars on Cornus sericea (redtwig dogwood)
September 07, 2011 - My red-twig dogwood has white/black striped caterpillars that congregate on the underside of the leaves and they are stripping the leaves. What can I do? They almost look like Monarch butterfly larvae...
view the full question and answer

Spacing of Trees near a House Foundation
June 18, 2015 - Can you recommend non-invasive shade tree that can be planted 6 to 7 feet from foundation. We are buying a new home in zone 8a and choices that are given are: Live Oak, Lacebark Elm, Cedar Elm, and B...
view the full question and answer

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