best time to cut tree for saving for projects

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Forum topic by stanley605 posted 09-02-2018 05:48 PM 426 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 523 days

09-02-2018 05:48 PM

I have a nice size osage orange tree in my woods that I want to cut down and store the wood for making mallets and other projects. My question is when is a good time to cut it down, now in September, or the spring, or summer. I think I read once about sometimes the water go into the tree and other times out. Anyway, I will welcome your advice.

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567 posts in 1112 days

#1 posted 09-02-2018 08:13 PM

There are two things to consider as far as the “water” content goes…first is if you want to be able to use the wood and intend to air dry it then late fall or winter is when the sap is “down” in the roots. It is supposed to dry faster then. Late spring or early summer finds the most sap up in most trees so it can be cut then to allow it to slow dry and not have as many cracks and checks. It has more water and dries slower.
I have heard the above repeated all my life, but I honestly don’t know if it is true. The “sap” goes up to the leaves thru the cambium layer so it makes sense that the dead part of the trunk wouldn’t necessarily have more or less at a given time. Late this spring I milled a lot of logs. Some of them did seem to have a lot of water content, but the hickory I milled did some splitting anyway. Me personally, what I go by is simple…if I know I need lumber I cut the tree and get it sticker stacked asap. My theory is the quicker you get it started the sooner you can use it.
Osage orange is heavy and dense and it takes longer to air dry anyways…I would cut it now and get it started drying. As far as cutting it and leaving a log un-milled to sit around, I always say that you are better off to leave the tree standing alive until you are ready to mill it and get it stacked. In log form the only trees I have seen do any appreciable amount of drying is eastern red cedar and paulownia. Everything else just lays there and rots. Osage orange is definitely not going to do much drying in log form…it is hard enough to get it to dry when milled.

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3 posts in 523 days

#2 posted 09-02-2018 09:39 PM

thanks MSINC. Over the years I have used alot of Osage, but have gotten it from someone and just stored it in a shed for a few years even painting the ends, but normally got cracks anyway. My pieces have been about 14-16 inches long and less than 5 inches around. My tree is something like 10 inches. I will take your knowledge and advice. thks again

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