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

Shade Trees for Bullhead City, AZ
August 12, 2014 - We have a patio with 2 old (unused) fire pit cut-outs; about 4 ft wide each. The cut out is not lined with concrete or brick: just rimmed with the concrete on all sides. The center of the cut-outs i...
view the full question and answer

Mid-sized tree that does not attract moths for Katy, TX
December 25, 2010 - I recently started to get interested in gardening. I live in Katy Texas and am looking for a medium sized tree I can grow in my backyard. I don't mind a tree that attracts birds or butterflies but I...
view the full question and answer

Young Mexican White Oak Losing Leaves in Texas
July 13, 2016 - I have a 5 yr old Mexican white oak, 20 ft tall losing its leaves mostly at the top. They turn brown & fall off. It does not lose its leaves in the winter, right?. About 3 ft from the top down is bare...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on dogwoods
August 05, 2005 - I am interested in the worldwide distribution of the dogwood family/cornus. Specifically, I am interested in whether or not there are indiginous species on the Indian Subcontinent. Is there a resour...
view the full question and answer

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