The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Tree, Plant and Wood I.D. => Topic started by: firechief on December 24, 2009, 09:47:25 AM

Title: Maple Tree
Post by: firechief on December 24, 2009, 09:47:25 AM
Hello all and happy holidays.

Hope I have a simple question.  I was recently given permission by a local realty company to cut up a fallen maple tree near my house in a small wooded area.  The tree is about 2 1/2 feet in diameter and a good 50-60 feet tall. The only reason I know it is a maple is from the few old brown remnants of leaves.  I know this tree will produce quite a bit of firewood for me.  My question is: Are there any Maple trees that are softwood ? I mainly try to burn hardwoods and am hoping this tree is a hardwood as well.  Sorry I can't provide any more information.  Have a happy holiday.

Jim
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: Phorester on December 24, 2009, 10:11:10 AM
Well...... that's not really a simple question.... or maybe it is....., depending on how technical you want to get.   Living trees can be broadly classed as softwoods and hardwoods.  Softwoods are conifers and hardwoods are decidious trees. But then, hardwoods can be classified as soft hardwoods and  hard hardwoods.  Then, maples can be classified as soft maple or hard maple depending on the particular maple species.

So maple is a hardwood, but a particular maple species can be either a hard or a soft hardwood.  But on most lists of species suitability for firewood, any maple species is generally classified somewhere in the middle. 

I'd say you got some fair - good firewood there.  Not as good as oak, but better than aspen.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: Brian Beauchamp on December 24, 2009, 01:04:40 PM
Pretty much the same as what Phorester is saying, I think what is confusing is the terminology used between hard maple and soft maple. Maple is a hardwood, but the products of the individual species are lumped into those two general categories of hard maple (Sugar Maple, for example) and soft maple (Red Maple, etc.).
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: DouginUtah on December 24, 2009, 01:43:22 PM
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,21955.68.html   Post #68

Ferric salt painted on the sapwood of maples will differentiate the "soft" maples from the "hard" maple groups. Blue stain indicates soft maple and green stain indicated hard maple.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: firechief on December 27, 2009, 11:03:34 AM
Any idea what kind of store would sell ferric salt ?
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: DouginUtah on December 27, 2009, 12:28:25 PM
"There is a test where you put a few drops of 5% sodium nitrite solution on the oak and if it turns dark colored, it is white oak. This test is 100%. "

In order to do the above test I went to the chemistry department at the local university. You might also try asking at a pharmacy. Or even at the local high school chemistry department.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: firechief on December 27, 2009, 03:10:12 PM
Thanks Doug,
My curiousity has the best of me now as to what kind of Maple this is.  I live only 5 minutes from Notre Dame so I will give them a try.  Thanks again.

Jim
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: SwampDonkey on December 27, 2009, 04:21:33 PM
Any idea what kind of store would sell ferric salt ?

Try looking for a soluble fertilizer that controls moss, has around 17 % of ferrous sulfate. With a trained eye, it can be determined with a hand lens on the end grain by looking at the rays. They are uniform in soft maple and of two thicknesses in hard (one thick ray separated by several finer ones, then a thicker one and so on). Not for newbies. ;)
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: woodtroll on December 28, 2009, 11:13:56 AM
It would be easier if you take a picture and post it here. We can give you all sorts of answers.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: firechief on December 28, 2009, 11:41:11 AM
Thanks woodtroll

As soon as I can get over and start cutting I will do that.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: Dodgy Loner on January 05, 2010, 11:09:48 AM
Dissolve some steel wool in dilute muriatic acid (both avaiable at your local hardware store) and you've got yourself a solution of iron chloride. Regardless of the species of maple, the firewood should be good.
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: climbncut on January 07, 2010, 11:27:18 PM
You should be able to tell if its a silver maple or sugar maple just from making some cuts with the chain saw. Sugar is hard and dark redish-brownish color and silver is soft and light in color. If you determine its sugar, try to get the log to a mill and slab it up!
Title: Re: Maple Tree
Post by: bill m on January 08, 2010, 07:52:05 PM
Color of wood can be influenced by minerals and soil composition. Most all Sugar Maple I have seen has a real light color sometimes with a darker heartwood.