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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we have this big elm out in the front yard that survived Sandy but it was lifting from the ground a bit. I was worried about whether it would come down or not (at one point, it really looked like it was going to go) and I've decided I want to get an estimate to have it brought down because I don't trust it now.

First off, how is the root system of these things? It's a good 70+ feet tall and the ground was definitely moving during the 96 mph winds.

Secondly, if we got it cut down, we'd like to keep the wood for firewood. I read that it's tough to split and that it's only fair as a firewood? We have a big fireplace that I can get screaming hot so pretty much most wood is burned well by the time we're done with it. :) But any thoughts on it?
 

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Elm here is one of the toughest root systems to take out. It just doesn't like to let go.
As for firewood, elm is great, even TOO good if you aren't careful. I've seen woodstoves with the door warped because somebody filled it full of dry elm and it got too hot for the stove to take. A little bit will do you mixed with something else.
 

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Split it while it's green and wear a clothespin on your nose when you're burning it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Split it while it's green and wear a clothespin on your nose when you're burning it.
Uh - oh!! Bad smell? I've burned the small branches that have come off it and never noticed a smell but I've not burned a bunch of logs. Maybe I should also cut down the maple tree at the same time and mix it up? LOL
 

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I've burned it, but had to use a hydraulic splitter to split it. It's tough wood to split, almost as bad as sweet gum.
 

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I never noticed an odor in a woodstove. FP might be different, but if you burn it with other wood it should do just fine.
 

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Burns really hot,good wood . I have split a bunch of it . My first year was a sledgehammer and wedges,talk about fun. Hydraulics all the way now.
 

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If this is a red elm it will make good burning wood,but if is a Chinese elm, which are not native, it is not the best. Have someone look at it that knows trees and they can tell you. Is it still alive?? and had leaves on,if so prob. the Chinese type. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm on the tree's side (I have a soft spot for big trees). If it made it through 96 mph winds I think it has proved itself!
But it was lifting an area around the base to about 10 feet away from it. It was SCARY!!!! I really thought it was going!

If the tree company comes and says it's healthy, it will stay but this is the ONE house we have that would fall on the house in the storm. We're on Long Island and after Sandy, all bets are off for trees that might hit the house. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If this is a red elm it will make good burning wood,but if is a Chinese elm, which are not native, it is not the best. Have someone look at it that knows trees and they can tell you. Is it still alive?? and had leaves on,if so prob. the Chinese type. Good luck.
Yep - it's still alive but it doesn't look like a Chinese elm. Honestly, it really looks like an American Elm. It doesn't have fuzzy twigs like a red elm. Hmmm.....
 

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GREAT WOOD, if you don't have anything else. No it will burn good, at least here in Oklahoma. I like it pretty dry when burning. Gets hot, and split easy, some, not all kinds of elms, but some.
 

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Uh - oh!! Bad smell?...
American elm kinda smells like stale cat urine when it is burned. Google the term, "---- elm".
 

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Split it right after it is cut down. The longer it sits the tougher it's going to be to split.
 

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If it really is an American Elm, of that size, you should definitely call your state forester or ag dept. They will want to take a look at it to see its genetics......Most of the American Elms I have seen since the 1950's have been only about twenty years old--and not that big--before dying off with the Dutch Elm Disease.

Because of that, elm makes a pretty good stove wood at the smaller diameter. You can let it cure standing after it dies off, then just cut the barkless rounds for the right length. Larger diameter, just cut thinner rounds and quarter them into stove chunks.

Yes, it does stink a little, but I've gotten used to it as dry wood(not green).

geo
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If it really is an American Elm, of that size, you should definitely call your state forester or ag dept. They will want to take a look at it to see its genetics......Most of the American Elms I have seen since the 1950's have been only about twenty years old--and not that big--before dying off with the Dutch Elm Disease.
Yeah - Maybe I'll bring in a sample of the leaves and branches to the cooperative service near here. It still has leaves on - it's one of the latest to drop it's leaves. Every other tree is bare but this one and it's usually not fully bare until January. From what I've looked up online, it doesn't meet the description of slippery elm with it's fuzzy twigs so I'm not sure what other kind of elm it would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here's a picture that is a few years old of my daughters standing in front of the tree. I'm posting it so you can see the bark.

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
And here you can see a bit of the size of it. It's the bigger tree closer to the house with nothing around the base.

 

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There are several varieties of elm. American elm is so-so as firewood compared to oak or hickory. It is does not (conventionally) split well, but usually one can (usually) split it with a mall or wedges if the don't try to split it through the center. Strike the wood about 1/3 out from the center toward the edge. It will "slab" off this way and then you will have a squared center piece.

This same method usually works with shagbark or shellbark hickory. Red, bitternut, pig nut and some of the other hickories are usually tough to split with any method.

For a tree that size... it would be a lot easier to go with a hydraulic splitter.
 
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