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Author Topic: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention  (Read 388 times)

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Offline PAHillstead

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Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« on: September 21, 2021, 07:16:14 PM »
Hey folks, first post so quick intro- the family and I finally bought the homestead last year about this time. We're located in central Pennsylvania on some fairly steep forested hills spread out over about 17 acres. Clear cut about 60 years ago, the property can presently yield sufficient wood for home heating and selective light chainsaw milling.  

With plenty of standing dead ash, I've got plenty of firewood at the ready. What I don't have are the outbuildings that I'd like to start working on before freeze- a lean-to for protecting drying firewood and a shed for drying milled green wood. 

My property is covered almost entirely with hardwood, with the exception of some white pine and Canadian hemlock that keeps the hill from sliding down onto my house.  

I want to get poles cut and sunk before frost- which means working with green hard wood. I'm looking to see if any of you know of any tricks for sealing up greenwood to prevent rot- to last at least until I can get some wood properly dried and structures rebuilt for the long term. We used to coat poles with motor oil when I was young, but I don't expect wet wood to soak any up. 

I'd appreciate any advice you might have, thanks for reading. 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2021, 07:30:18 PM »
The way to stop wood rotting it to get it dry. Now you can do that with the wood in place in a relatively open structure. If air can get at it, it will dry about the same holding up a wall / roof as it does on a drying stack. 

Are you able to dig some concrete piers into the ground, then build on top of those(with a moisture barrier)? Then you can construct a shed, have the wood dry in place, and it should last a long time. 
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Offline PAHillstead

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Re: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2021, 08:41:05 AM »
I can do that! Thanks for your suggestion! I was going in circles in my head - I need to dry wood to build a shed, but need a shed to dry wood! 
You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light - Edward Abbey

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2021, 04:34:23 PM »
Do it right once.  :D
 Old timers who didn't mind poisoning the soil would bore a hole then fill with used crankcase oil then insert some basically good outdoor use wooden post like Osage orange, locust, sawed white oak, etc.. In todays pole building construction it's all ground contact PT and often sits properly done separated from foundation walls or piers, thus no direct concrete contact or in a plastic sleeve in ground.  
If you have suitable tree size & species for board & batten out building coverings, roof framing, so on, that's good or you can just go with metal or blocks and use your time improving the stand to become something better.  
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2021, 05:41:29 PM »
In your locale I would think that you could find plenty of Black Locust.  You probably can find some dead trees but if you have to use green, strip the bark off of the portion that will be in the ground.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Burying green hardwoods- rot prevention
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2021, 11:07:05 PM »
I would not want to sink any wood in the ground.  I'd want to find a way to do concrete piers or footing and stem wall etc.  I have pole barns that sunk them in the ground the old way, and they rot off at ground level- both green treated and good creosote that is all the way through, at 20-25 years, and 30 years respectively.  Doing concrete is more expensive, but it will end up a better product and last longer.

Also green wood will not take a treatment well if at all. Save your posts for above ground use attached to your piers.  It's fine to build with green wood if you have to.  Keep in mind that if you have carpenter bees in your area, they like soft woods like pine, fir, and tulip poplar near an opening or open to the outside.
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