Technically, you can burn off a tree that has been cut yesterday, but its effectiveness relies considerably on whether or not the tree was already dead. Burning a newly cut live tree wood, called “green wood,” is not the best use of the resource or protected in a house. Green wood’s high moisture content makes the wood hard to burn. The moisture also leads to excessive smoke, causing green wood to be a poor choice for indoor furnaces or wood stoves.
Understanding Moisture’s Effects
Using green wood can negatively affect wood consumption by around 25 percent. More than one-half the weight of green wood may be from water. A lot of energy is needed to burn off all that moisture — energy that could move toward supplying heat and a sustained flame. The ideal water percentage in wood for burning is below 20 percent by weight.
The minimum quantity of time to dry, or season, green wood for maximum output is about six months. Split the wood into manageable pieces, and stack the pieces over the ground. Put pallets or a comparable base underneath the woodpile to maximize its ventilation, and stack the wood so the pile comprises some spaces for air to leak throughout it. Place a tarp or comparable weather-resistant cover over only the woodpile’s top. The tarp prevents water from getting into and pooling within the woodpile, a situation that could result in rot.
Recognizing Dry Wood
When wood is dry enough to burn indoors, its characteristics have changed. Dry wood is lighter in color and weight than green wood from the same type of tree. Also, its bark becomes loose and could be peeled easily. Cracks may seem, particularly toward the ends of the logs. The sappy, woody aroma fades. Dry wood creates a distinctive sound — a hollow crack — when hit. So strike two pieces of the wood together, and listen for that sound.
Burning Green Wood
When you have to burn green wood, then do this outdoors where lots of ventilation is available to counteract the smoke. Before lighting the fireplace, split the wood into very little pieces, and blend those pieces with dry kindling. Place the mixture inside a suitably sized burn container or passion pit, stacking the tiny pieces so that air may flow around the whole pile that will be burned. The higher the stack’s atmosphere consumption isalso the hotter the flame will burn and the faster the wood’s water will dissipate. Stand clear of the wood since it burns, and expect to hear lots of popping and observe its results, clear indicators that the water is burning.