Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just Say No To Ornamental Pears!

Pears are pretty every spring for about a week, and the rest of the year they worry you to death with Fire Blight, broken branches, and dieback from girdling roots.  Next time plant a real tree.  Oh Yes, they are an invasive species, too.  They are showing up in timber all over the place.


The Freeholder said...

Ornamental pears--are those also known as a Bradford Pear? White flowers, smell terrible when they bloom? If that is the same tree as I'm thinking of, they never manage to get that big here. Over-grown weeds. They don't even make decent firewood.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

Bradford pears, Callery Pears, CLeveland pears, and others that are similar. They are pretty every year, but they have now become an invasive species as birds spread the seeds around the landscape. The wood is good to add to the barbecue or smoker. Dry it for a year for the wood stove. Our favorite wood is black oak for heat. The large spring pores allow it to dry fast and dry well. Wood with tight pores goes in the stove next to the fire for a warmup and forced drying before rolling it into the fire. It only took me thirty-five years to learn that trick.

The Freeholder said...

Black Oak isn't something you see around here. Red Oak and White Oak are our predominate oak species. I prefer white but red is a lot easier to get. However, I'm a big fan of "free" which means I've become adept at burning all sorts of wood. Fortunately, it isn't as cold for as long (usually), so I can burn softer woods most of the time and save the good hard woods for when the weather goes to crap.

If I'm burning "my wood", it's yellow pine. I hate to burn it--the stuff ought to be made into lumber. Some of these trees are 30" at the butt and 90+' tall. Unfortunately the building code jockeys have made it illegal to build with unless it is cut and milled on site, so there is almost zero market for it. I also don't have enough of it to make a lot of lumber, so it makes no sense to buy a decent mill, even used. I'm considering a Haddon Lumbermaker. Cheap enough that I can justify the cost but good enough that the resulting lumber can be used for outbuildings and such. Or I might try my hand at a log cabin if I can figure out a way to beat the bugs.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

Norhtern Red Oak is a higher quality tree than black oak. Most of our soils in the clay pan area of So. IL are black oak sites rather than Red Oak. Red Oak's advantage over White Oak is the faster drying. That is why we like it. We can cut Black Oak and be burning it in a month. White Oak won't do that.

We tried burning some white pine one winter and plugged our stove pipe into the flue, and had a heck of a time cleaning the glassy creosote out of the chimney.

What are you expected to build with? Southern Yellow Pine is good wood. The best way to buy a lumber mill is to catch an estate sale of some old boy who bought one to play with during his retirement. Keep an eye on estate sales all around your area.

The Freeholder said...

You're absolutely right, white oak takes forever to dry, but it makes wonderful firewood. You can burn pine, but you have to know the trick. First, it has to be absolutely bone dry. If the bark is falling off, it's dry enough. Let it burn hot and fast--don't damp the stove down. It isn't a wood to burn overnight. I've burned it since I was a teenager and if you do it like that, it's no worse than any other wood. Except for you'll burn twice as much of it. :-)

Our building code...folks...expect us to use Douglas Fir. Crappy stuff. It will work, but it's why StrongTies is in business. When we bought this house, I made sure we bought one old enough to be built from yellow pine. You have to pre-drill holes to hang pictures, but it isn't going to go anywhere.

Probably doesn't really make sense for me to own a mill. I've got maybe an acre of good trees. I could maybe make a business of milling for other folks, but most people would rather go to the big box store and buy crappy wood cheap. No one cares if the houses or outbuildings they build will be here in 50 years. "I'll be dead, what does it matter?"

That attitude is why things are going into the toilet around here.