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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Does Frost Dry Wood?

We are at the point of the year when the cold sets in and we need to start using our wood stoves. If you are like me, there can be a question about how ready the wood is for burning. Some woods dry quickly, whiles others take more time to season (such as oak).

I often get questions concerning firewood including this one from Jack G.:

“I always heard from childhood that frost draws moisture out of firewood. Is this true? Many thanks!:

My first instinct was that it wasn’t true because when you see frost on wooden homes, the moisture builds up after a frost. But, I caught up with my friend Scott Laliberte, a firewood expert, who said what Jack has heard over the years is a actually true. When the firewood is outside and is hit with a hard frost, the moisture clings to the wood. The frost (cold), in fact, helps to widen the crack at both ends of the wood, which allows air to penetrate and the wood dry more quickly. Moisture doesn’t draw moisture out of the wood but it does open it up to air. One of the ways to determine if wood is ready to burn is the cracks at both ends. The more and the larger the cracks, the drier it is to burn.

Here are a few videos Scott and I made last year about firewood:

3 comments

1 Syd { 11.23.11 at 3:03 pm }

Jody,
Check your state’s DOT website for their highway webcams and surface readings. I know here in Montana they have readings of ground temperature at 18 inches and 36 inches.

2 Jaime McLeod { 11.14.11 at 11:37 am }

Sorry, Jody. Maybe you could ask someone at your local agricultural extension service?

3 Jody { 11.11.11 at 11:47 pm }

My husband is looking for the soil temperatures at 24 inches.
I’m finding plenty of readings at 4 and 8 inches, and I know there is some kind of linear regression equation, but cannot find it.
Can you help?

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