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Drying a standing tree before cutting for firewood

 
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I've seen a video (can't find it back) where the person talked about drying a standing tree by killing it. He didn't explain much in detail how that worked so I jumped and searched for other people doing so and describe the technique better but couldn't find anything else about this. What he mentioned was making a cut around the tree which woudld kill the tree and make it dry while standing for 4 months (or so I think he said), making the drying process much easier and faster, since it will get dryer without even having to stack and split. I assume it would still need some drying time as dead trees aren't always dry enough to burn.

I was wondering if anyone know about this technique, if someone tried it or something like that?
 
pollinator
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I've seen my father doing this when he was cutting tree in other times then winter. It seems the same principle that felling a tree in summer and waiting some times so the leaves suck out the water.
 
master gardener
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It would probably work … eventually.   I suspect using the conventional approach of cutting and splitting would increase the exposed surface area and result in a faster drying time ….which I would still measure in years.

There might be some value in addressing a tree like this a year or more in advance.   I still see problems.   I have 11 acres, and I have more than enough blow downs to keep me in firewood without going after live trees.  But if you are planning on clearing land, there might be a point. But the other potential problem I see is that cutting a green tree is generally easier on the chain than cutting dry wood. So, if I was clearing land, it would make more sense to go after the green tree.

 
rocket scientist
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Hi, the process is called "ringing" a tree.
A chainsaw cuts several inches (depending on how thick the bark is) completely around the butt of the tree.
This cuts off the sap and will kill the tree.  However, although it might die in 4 months, it will not be very dry to burn.
I have seen this done by firewood cutters to large slow dying trees. By ringing the dying tree this summer and letting it stand, it will be completely dead by next summer... will it be dry?  No, it will not, but better than it was.
This process is illegal.  Only standing dead trees may be cut in the national forest.
By secretly ringing a slow-dying tree it becomes "legal" the following summer to fall it and buck it into firewood lengths.

 
pollinator
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I have a couple of black locust wood lots; I always kill the trees and leave them standing before cutting. I leave mine for at least two years before cutting for wood and another couple of years under cover before using.  The ringing with a chain saw trick does work but sometimes, they heal back a bit and don't die and often lots of sprouts shoot up around the base.

I prefer to completely de-bark the trunk close to the ground. I use a sharp hatchet and a hammer, first chopping through until I can get the blade under the bark and then tapping it all the way around. This kills it completely and pretty much immediately. By the time I get ready to cut wood all or most of the upper branches have already dropped off so when the tree falls it doesn't damage other trees as badly. Those smaller upper branches are used for stove kindling and in the outdoor grill.
 
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I think what you are referring to is "Ringing" a tree. Usually bad actors do this to kill trees on public lands to harvest them next year. It doesn't really help dry them much just kills them.  I think it helps people pretend they are not harvesting live trees which is illegal in many places. Standing tree do not dry well because the roots can still hold and soak up water.

To dry trees I cut them down and cut them into rounds then stand them on edge. The more air and sun around the wood fibers the faster they will dry. Also stripping the bark off when it is lose will help dry it,
 
pollinator
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Your friendly and self-appointed safety officer would like to say, please be careful cutting dead trees. They are much more likely to do exciting things like barber chair or drop a limp on your head.

And anyways, I personally just don't see the advantage. If you are there at the tree and holding a running chainsaw why not just cut it down then? I guarantee it will dry faster bucked up on the ground than standing girdled.
 
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