A thought provoking article appeared this week in the Community Perspectives forum (http://www.newsminer.com/opinion/community_perspectives/we-can-burn-wood-cleanly/article_0d46253c-491d-11e3-9e37-0019bb30f31a.html). Though fuel oil is currently down in price (~$3.80/gal) it will only take an event in the Middle East or distribution problems this winter and the price could be up over $5/gal. People still get around twice as many BTU’s per $ by burning well seasoned wood, and there are bound to be a number of people switching over this winter.

Read the article and see what you think. It may be that with a very late start to winter we may need less fuel and have a shorter heating season. Regardless, remember that timing in harvesting your wood is something you ought consider.  As Extension Forester Glen Holt pines,

“The best time to cut wood is in late winter or early spring.   All of March and the first week of April are very good, BEFORE the sap runs!

When sap starts running this will load up the tree again with water as it prepares to begin growing again for the new season.  In the Fall sap begins to recede back into the roots, no active growth takes place but the tree stores its moisture and much of the nutrients not needed for active growth back in the roots.

It takes until mid winter before this entire translocation apparently is over with and that is why the CCHRC study verifies by trial that late winter very early Spring is best for cutting wood, followed by prompt splitting (opening the wood up), stacking so that the pile is able to breath and drying is facilitated, and the top of the pile is covered or the wood is put under a roof with open sides to protect it from undue rain/moisture.”

If you have any questions about wood harvesting, call Glen at 474-3450.  If you have questions about the pricing comparisons of oil and biomass, call Art (Extension Energy Specialist) at 474-6366.