Glenn's Sheds

Glenn's Sheds

Quality Firewood Sheds, Built to Last

June 2, 2017

Oak Trees in New York State Are Dying

Oak trees with and without Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is a disease that affects oak trees. It is caused by Ceratocystis fagacearum, a fungus that develops in the xylem, the water carrying cells of trees.

All oaks are susceptible to the fungus, but the red oak group (with pointed leaf tips) often die much faster than white oaks (rounded leaf tips). Red oaks can take from a few weeks to six months to die and they spread the disease quickly. White oaks can take years to die and have a lower risk of spreading the disease.

Why is oak wilt a problem?

The oak wilt fungus blocks the flow of water and nutrients from the roots to the crown, causing the leaves to wilt and fall off, usually killing the tree. Red oaks (scarlet oak, pin oak, black oak, etc.) can die within a few weeks to six months, and the disease spreads quickly from tree to tree. White oaks (bur oak, scrub oak, etc.), however, often take years to die and the disease usually cannot spread to additional trees.

Where does it come from?

Oak wilt was first discovered in Wisconsin in 1944, but where it originated is still unknown. It has spread throughout the Midwest and Texas, killing tens of thousands of trees.

Where is it found in New York State?

In 2008, a small infection was discovered in Glenville, NY. It was quickly dealt with to prevent further spread. The disease resurfaced in the same location in 2013, and additional steps were taken to eradicate the infection. In 2016, oak wilt was discovered in Islip, Riverhead, and Southold in Suffolk County; Brooklyn in Kings County; and Canandaigua in Ontario County. View maps showing current infection locations. (PDF, 880 KB) View the emergency orders that establish Protective Zones around the infections and prohibit the movement of oak and firewood out of the infected areas:

How does it spread?

There are two main ways oak wilt is spread: 1) above ground by beetles, and 2) below ground through tree roots.

Fungal spore mats form just under the bark of infected red oaks after they have died from the disease. During the warmer months, these spore mats emit a sweet odor that attracts sap-feeding beetles and bark beetles, which can pick up fungal spores as they crawl around. The beetles are also highly attracted to fresh wounds in other trees-often caused by pruning. In this way, they spread the fungus from infected trees to healthy trees sometimes miles away. Infected firewood and other wood materials also pose a threat because they can harbor the fungus and/or beetles that can spread the disease.

Spread underground occurs when roots of nearby red oaks graft to each other (fuse together), creating a connection through which nutrients and the disease can move. In the Midwest, large blocks of red oak forests have died from the disease in a single season due to their vast network of interconnected roots. In contrast, white oaks are much less likely to create root grafts, and spore mats rarely form under their bark, significantly reducing the chance of spread from these trees.

Symptoms

Symptoms of oak wilt infection are often very noticeable in red oak species, but aren’t easily seen in white oaks.

 

What is being done?

What can I do?

And this …

New York battles continuing spread of deadly oak wilt

The Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic in Ithaca, New York, has identified the presence of oak wilt in the borough of Brooklyn in Kings County and in the towns of Babylon, Islip, Riverhead and Southold in Suffolk County.

This is the fourth county where oak wilt has been confirmed in New York. It was found in Long Island in August 2016. Reports of symptomatic oak trees from both tree-care professionals and the public has led to the additional detections.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will remove and destroy all the oaks that have tested positive for the fungus. It has issued emergency orders to establish protective zones encompassing all of Suffolk County and the borough of Brooklyn.

The orders forbid the removal of any living, dead, standing, cut or fallen oak trees or any portions thereof, including branches, logs, stumps or roots and green oak lumber and firewood, out of the zone unless it has been chipped to less than 1 inch in two dimensions.

“It is important that these emergency orders are taken seriously,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Moving contaminated wood without taking precautions will spread this serious tree-killing disease to additional areas.”

-Glenn

About Glenn: Glenn of Glenn’s Sheds is the mastermind behind their line of durable, breathable, and beautiful firewood sheds. A lifelong woodsman Glenn has heated his home with firewood all his life. He’s an expert on trees, firewood, burning, techniques, woodstove-care, and, of course, firewood shed building and installation. 

 

February 17, 2017

Secrets of a Clean Chimney

 

Did you know that your chimney, fireplace, wood stove, and furnace flue are often among the most overlooked causes of carbon monoxide intrusion, fires and other hazards resulting in loss of life and property? There are several major steps you can take to reduce dangerous creosote buildup and avoid a chimney fire.

 

First, an annual chimney sweep service and maintenance are vital for safety and efficiency if you burn wood for heat and enjoyment. We’ve worked with a lot of chimney services and have found Hudson Valley Chimney Service to be knowledgable and reliable. They offer an affordable chimney sweep service and also do maintenance work on stoves and chimneys, including masonry. Founder Bill Murphy has been selling and maintaining stoves and chimneys since 1976. He is Chimney Safety Institute-certified as are all his technicians. All are licensed and insured chimney sweeps.

 

Second, creosote always accumulates in a chimney, and this process accelerates when burning under-seasoned, green and low-BTU woods. As well, burning any wood in warmer weather when the lower heat differential reduces draft through the flue. The most important factor in maintaining a creosote-free chimney between cleanings is burning thoroughly dry, high-BTU wood.

Of course a good and clean chimney warrants a fine Woodstove. Both of us at Glenn’s Sheds bought our favorite stove, the Moreso 7110, at Ashleigh’s Hearth and Home on Route 9 in Poughkeepise.

So to summarize, the most important steps to avoid chimney fires are with regular cleaning and burning dry, hard wood.

 

chimney-sweep-cleaning.new_

This!

 

 

Freeport firefighter Jason Miller reacts as flames shoot out the chimney of a Brown Road home in Pownal on Saturday, where firefighters from Pownal and Freeport responded to a chimney fire. Miller and Lt. Ken Coslet attacked the problem from the roof, using a weight and chain to clear the chimney of material that had built up, but not before flames erupted several times. No damage was done to the 19th century home, a fortunate reminder to homeowners who burn wood to be diligent about keeping chimneys clean and using only seasoned firewood.

 

 

And by all means, not this:

September 27, 2014

When Can We Paint Treated Lumber?

Oscawana_Creative_2The quick answer is – It depends. It depends on how dry the wood is when it is installed. Though this might seem obvious, and is certainly true, there are factors at work that might not be so obvious.

Here are a few of the factors that will determine how dry the lumber is and how soon it can be painted (or better- stained):

*Has the material been stored indoors or outdoors at the lumber yard? (since this is material that will laugh at rain it is often stored outside in the elements)

*How long has the lumber had to dry after it was treated (a wet process)?

*How much sun does the lumber get where it is currently installed?

*How has the weather been since installing the treated lumber? (Windy, dry weather is the best)

*What region of the world do you live in? Consider the above criteria – (Hot, dry climate vs Muggy, cloudy environment)

Here is a way to test the wood to see if it is ready for staining:

Throw a small amount of water on a sampling of boards – watch to see if the water beads up (not ready to accept liquid – not ready to stain) or if it soaks in to the wood (ready to accept liquid and ready to stain) [this is sometimes called a “sprinkle test] repeat this test as needed

The wood could be ready in a couple of weeks to stain, though the general suggestion is to wait a month if you can – but be aware of the possibility that the wood is very wet and might have to wait a couple of months, depending on the drying conditions..

The same stains can generally be used for the varied materials though you may want to specifically use decking stains in the appropriate location, etc.

Can I leave the treated lumber unfinished?
Yes – you can leave anything unfinished, but it will be just that- unfinished. Even the treated lumber will deteriorate and decay with time (though you could be looking at decades of use still)- and it will happen much faster if it is not sealed with a finisher like stain or paint or water repellant.

And if the lumber is stained too soon?
If the lumber is sealed when it is wet, problems can occur.

-Water can be sealed in causing problems with the finish

-Sealed-in moisture can promote mold or rot and the wood itself can be damaged

Types of stain:
Stain has the advantage over paint for these sheds in that it is designed to penetrate the wood rather than surface-coat it. This should do a good job of protecting the wood and make any pretreatment in the future far easier than having to scrape the wood surface of old paint if that is what has been used.

Stain comes in a selection of transparencies, associated with pigment and protective content. The higher the pigment content the better the protection from UV rays from the sun. The higher the transparency (lower pigment) the better the penetration for the stain might be. Choose the balance you desire.

Sample categories:

Solid Stain- the highest level of pigment & the least transparency

Semi-Solid-

Semi-Transparent-

Transparent- the highest level of transparency & the least pigment

There are also products on the market with basically no pigment- which can protect from water weathering but not from UV rays

Keep Warm, Glenn

May 20, 2014

Firewood from NY State Parks

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting bids from homeowners to cut firewood on state forests in Chenango and Madison counties.

The trees available for cutting are marked by DEC foresters to ensure that the only wood removed is done for conservation and habitat reasons. Removal of marked trees improves forest health and the growing stock of under-story trees and vegetation.

Firewood will be available in volumes of three, five and 10 standard cords with a minimum bid of $20 per cord. A standard cord is a pile of wood measuring 4 feet high, 4 feet deep and 8 feet long.

Information about firewood sales is available on DEC’s website
http://bit.ly/1iGQ88x

Collecting Firewood in New York State Parks

Collecting Firewood in New York State Parks

May 6, 2014

Firewood Dryness FAQs

Dry firewood for sale! We see this often, and as often we wonder if it’s true. Is the firewood fully dry or partly dry? Is all of the wood dry or only some of the wood dry? Then we might ask, what does it mean that wood is dry?

wood_pile

Actually, wood can be dry internally, externally, or both. This is true of lumber as well as firewood. When we use lumber that is not dry many problems can arise such as warping and shrinkage. When firewood is not dry we might have trouble burning it, get a reduced BTU (heat energy) output, or endanger the chimney.

There are two ways that wood can be dry. Externally wood can be wet from snow or rain. Internally the cells of the wood itself contain water – this is what helps sustain life in the tree when growing. After the tree is cut it is considered green. It still has moisture in the internal cells. When it is dry it is seasoned. Drying the exterior moisture is generally far faster than drying the internal wetness. For this reason it is important that the wood be able to breathe, while at the same time being protected from the bulk of the wet weather coming its way. Small quantities of exterior moisture are not a problem. Once the wood is dry internally the external moisture can dry quickly – with dry or windy days, or when placed briefly indoors near a stove.

Various types of wood have different moisture content, often up to 50% water. Some have far less. For this reason different woods have different drying times. Most woods will dry in a few months to a year, depending on the drying conditions. Ash, for example, has a short drying time, and is one of the best woods to burn if one needs to burn green wood. It requires a short drying period. Oak, on the other hand, can take up to two years to be fully dry. And many of you know of the tremendous heat generated by a fine block of Oak firewood. It’s worth the wait.

Two more points:

I have found that placing firewood in the house, when it is internally dry but has exterior moisture on it, has two advantages. First, it evaporates the external moisture from the wood and readies it to burn. Second, that evaporated moisture places much appreciated humidity in the air in a season when it is needed.

A tarp placed over wood is a problem if it covers more than one half of the wood pile. If the wood cannot breathe it will not dry. And if it cannot dry it will begin to decay. Sometimes there is just enough breathe-ability for the wood to decay and dry around the same time. The dry wood will then contain less BTU potential.

–Glenn

December 8, 2013

The Famous Treehouse

The building of a structure in the trees, capable of holding up to a dozen people at one time, must be solid. Here the boys learn about what it means to build in this solid way – as compared to taking short-cuts with the quality of materials or construction.

Like the practical third pig, who built his house of brick, the boys will understand where strength is essential and where it is not – and what a perfect age to do so. By engaging in the direct building of a structure such as this, linking the intellectual task with the physical task, children learn in a deep way, coming to understand about different materials, tools, fasteners, strength needs, the fitting of varied forms, working closely with others, and the physics of putting it all together.

Another beautiful aspect of all of this is the witnessing of a thought build into a procedural idea, grow into plans drawn on a page, to then come alive in the actual form – a treehouse; from idea to two-dimensional drawings to three-dimensional structure. To have a hand in each part of this process leads to learning that if described in words could cover pages – and allows each builder to look back at something that she or he had an integral hand in creating.