What does tree sap still oozing from a dead bucked and split pine have to do with seasoning before burning?

by Hal and Diane Watrous
(Southworth, WA, USA)

Hi,

We helped a neighbor cut and split a 20" diameter pine tree, that had been standing apparently dead(needles brown) for at least a year. The wood split very easily and oozes sap. Does the sap need to harden before it is properly seasoned for burning?

We weren't able to ID the type of pine, but it is about 50' tall,bushy, in a pasture, maybe an older ornamental, probably not a scotch pine. We burn alot of seasoned hemlock, fir and alder and want a clean burn. Any ideas?


Thanks,

Hal and Diane Watrous

Answer

The wood still needs time to dry before it will be ready to burn efficiently. Standing dead trees, unless in really dry climates, always need to be split and stored properly to be fully seasoned.

It sounds odd but I've chopped wood that has been in log form 2-3 years and it was still full of moisture. The inside of the wood needs to be exposed before it can fully season.

The oozing sap is just another sign that the tree is still too wet to burn. The pine pitch or resin is partially composed of water and once it begins to dry out, the resin will harden.

Once the wood is fully seasoned, you can burn it and get a clean and efficient burn.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful question!

-Firewood Matt

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