Monday, November 7, 2016

Fire wood facts

FIRE WOOD FACTS Wood was man’s first fuel source. Its popularity waned as more convenient sources were developed. However, recent price rises in gas, L.P. fuels, and electricity have generated a renewed interest in wood as an energy source in home heating. Some people just enjoy the ascetics of a wood fire. Wood has historically been sold by a unit known as a cord. The cord is actually a measure of the volume of a stack of wood. It represents a volume (length x width x height) of 128 cubic feet. Since most firewood is cut in two-foot pieces to accommodate stoves and fireplaces today, a cord is usually thought of as a rectangular stack of 2-foot pieces, 4 feet high in a 16-foot long stack yielding (2 x 4 x 16 = 128) 128 cubic feet. A long wide bed pickup (8’x 6’) is not quite a cord it is about ¾ of a cord. The most common wood available in Eddy County is Pinion Pine, Oak, Juniper, Mesquite, and ornamental pruning’s of Mulberry, Cottonwood and Pecan. Hard woods generally have better heat rating and less smoke then softer woods. Seasoning is possibly the most important item in preparing wood for use. It is best to use wood that has air dried for about six months or more rather than to use freshly cut or green wood. Since some woods are susceptible to fungi or rot while curing, if you do obtain green wood for later use, stack it so air can circulate through the stack. Remember also that there is about 20 percent more heat value in seasoned wood than in freshly cut wood due to the lower moisture content. As time has progressed we now have other concerns as well. Invasive forest pests are becoming more and more important. They not only can invade our ornamental landscapes but are invading our natural forest. Some non-native forest pests that can be spread via firewood include the emerald ash borer, Asian long horned beetle, beech bark disease, Dutch elm disease, gypsy moth, oak wilt, and sudden oak death. Some of what you can do to prevent the spread of insects and disease include: 1. Make sure you look for abnormal insects or tissue. 2. When stacking pruning’s make sure to stack in such a manner that it can air dry. 3. In the summer the wood can be covered with a clear plastic for a week to help solarize the wood stack. Remove after a week to allow adequate air flow to finish seasoning the wood. 4. Pick up and destroy as much of the small stuff as you can. 5. Don’t take potential diseased wood into the natural forest. 6. Don’t stack fire wood next to wood structure to prevent termites from entering the structure. 7. Stack fire wood if possible off the ground by 15 inches or on a solid flooring to prevent ground to wood contact and invasion of fire wood by termites. Treating firewood with insecticide is both ineffective and potentially dangerous to the homeowner. Wood should be stored outdoors away from the house until just before use. If firewood is infested with borers it can be treated by wrapping it in a tarp and allowing sunlight to heat it. Stacking wood layers in alternate directions will help it dry and reduce areas that can harbor insects. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

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