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Heat from Willows - Page 3

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Posted by Bob the Tomato on February 1, 2006, 9:37 am
Drew, the hybrid poplar grows that fast only on very fertile
floodplain soil, with plenty of water available (think: almost

There is an extensive tree farm near my folks' house, so I'm familiar
with them.  The company let the trees grow 7 years instead of 5 one
time, because the price of paper pulp happened to be really low that
year.  They found that the extra two years really made a difference.
I have seen the hybrids grown up to 8 years.  They really do grow
fast... but...

This type of wood is a poor choice for heating your home.  The reason
that it grows so fast is that it is mostly water!  So if you let it
properly season, the seasoned wood is very low density stuff which
burns VERY fast and gives off very little heat, even compared to other
softwoods such as pine or douglas fir.  If you don't let it season,
there is so much water it will not burn effectively at all.

These trees are bred as hybrids for one reason alone: paper.  They
make great newspaper stock, paper towels, toilet paper, and other
kinds of paper pulp.  They are lousy for anything else.  They don't
make good lumber at all; the wood rots quickly and is prone to
splitting and twisting.  The tree farms give off terrible clouds of
seeds when the trees are in bloom.  They look like cottonwoods on
steroids.  It looks like it is snowing.  They are a major PITA to have
around if you live near a tree farm.

I would definitely not consider this type of wood for sustainable
burning.  You are far better off going with douglas fir or a
fast-growing pine variety IMHO (even though it would take more land
for more slow-growing trees, you would probably end up breaking even
because there is more heat energy in less wood, plus it would be less
work to harvest the denser wood).  Plus, the pitch makes delicious
crackling and popping sounds when it burns, which is very pleasant.

Good luck,
Bob the Tomato

Posted by sno on January 31, 2006, 11:10 pm

Bamboo can be first harvested 3 to 4 yrs after planting....
produces from 3 to 5 times the amount of burnable material
then pine per acre..has almost the same btu/lb when dry
as dry oak...

Must be split lengthwise before burning...or will pop....since
is thin burns extremely fast in open air....so need a real
airtight stove to burn it it......

Is easier to drag a 50 lb bamboo culm out of woods
then carry a 50 lb log...<grin>.....also easier to cut/split.....

thank you for listening to my thoughts...sno (bamboo nut).....

Drew Cutter wrote:

  Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it

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Posted by Joe User on February 1, 2006, 6:32 am
 On Tue, 31 Jan 2006 22:12:14 +0000, daestrom wrote:

Yeah.  A cord is a measure of volume.  128 cubic feet of tightly packed
wood.  All of these numbers are WAGs.  A lot will depend on the efficiency
of the burner and the heat-tightness of the house.  If your heat use is
20% more efficient, you could use 20% less wood.  Most people who cut
and burn wood, though, run the house much warmer than someone burning
expensive gas or electric heat.  So, YMMV.

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom,
    It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
        - William Pitt, before the House of Commons,
            November 18, 1783.

Posted by Steve Spence on January 31, 2006, 11:50 pm
 Drew Cutter wrote:

Not enough info. If you burn 7 cord of maple, you might need 9 cord of

       Five Best Burning Species

# Hickory - 31 to 32 mm btu/cord
# Oak - 30 to 31 mm btu/cord
# Black Locust - 28 mm btu/cord
# Beech - 27 mm btu/cord
# Elms/Maples - 21 to 26 mm btu/cord

       Five Worst Burning Species

# White Pine - 15 mm btu/cord
# Cottonwood/Willow - 16 mm btu/cord
# Hemlock - 17 mm btu/cord
# Sassafras - 18 mm btu/cord
# Yellow Poplar - 18 mm btu/cord

Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust, http://www.green-trust.org
Contributing Editor, http://www.off-grid.net

Posted by Drew Cutter on February 1, 2006, 1:49 am
 Would the hybrid popular be on the worst list ? Hybrid willow ?

Steve Spence wrote:

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