Question About Using Dead Peach Tree From Back Yard, Please Help?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by gretscher, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone.  Here is the background.  My friend who moved into the house about 1976 with his family still lives there.  Maybe about 1985 or so his dad planted a peach tree that seemed very fruitful but since then his dad and mom have all passed away.  He didn't take care of the tree at all.  His dad used to do that.  Well the tree was thought to be dead.  It had no leaves was dried out and looked like a fire hazard.  Because he has cerebral palsy and can't use one of his hands and limps he needs help sometimes.  He asked if I could cut the tree down for him.  

    Well I cut about half of it down.  We thought it was dead but we did notice some new green leaves growing.  He never waters the thing so we figured he let it die from lack of water but we had some really strong rains, yes in Los Angeles we had some strong rains and the tree must have liked the rain and started growing back some leaves but not many. 

    So I get the chainsaw and cut about half of it down and since it's peach and he didn't need it I took some wood home for smoking meat.  My question is this.  I read that when people cut down trees one should let it season for about 6 months but this tree was all but dead for years, only now it's starting to show signs of life again.  The wood when cut seems extremely dry. It's orangish color or peach like color actually.  It's not green at all.  Also being concerned about insect damage I inspected it closely and there were no insects or damage due to insects at all.  It's really clean wood. It's just he didn't water it at all for years so that's why the tree dried out and all but died.   I guess the latest rain and the little rain we get now and then helped get the leaves to grow again.  Will it fruit again, I don't know? 

    So my question is since it's dry wood already and was very dry all these years does it still need to be "seasoned" or can I use it with my smoking meats right away?  


  2. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Letting wood dry is just that - reducing the moisture content so that it will burn without creosoting.  I don't know much about peach wood - I'm not an arborist and I don't play one on TV, though.

    What's the hurry to smoke it?  It isn't going anywhere.  Why don't you take a fairly large chunk (not a log, a chunk) and weigh it.  Place it where it won't get wet and weigh it again in a month.  The difference in weight will be the loss or gain in moisture.  If it gains weight, go ahead and use it before it gains any more.  If it loses weight, put it back in the dry place and weigh it again in another month.  When it stabilizes, it should be ready for the fire.

    If you have a friend who is really into woodworking, ask if he has a moisture meter for checking wood.  This is faster but I don't know that it's any more accurate.

    Where's the 'my 2 cents smiley?'

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Give it a try if it doesn't burn well or produces a thick white smoke it hasn't dried.  Remember that peaches are normally grafted to a strong root stock.  If the green was growing from the base of the tree that was the root stock starting to sprout.   Peaches normally last about 15 years down here then they slow way down on production and either die or the insects get to them.

    Peach is great wood and even if you have to season it for a couple of months it is worth the wait.
  4. Thanks for your input.  No, don't have any friends who do woodwork.  Not in a hurry but the wood is very dry as is even though I just cut it down yesterday.  But as noted it was all but dead for years so it's not like it was alive when I cut it down.  It was just dried out already when I cut it down.
  5. Thanks for the input.  I'll try what you say by burning a small piece and see the result.  Yes the green was starting to grow at the base of the tree, true.
  6. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    The rule of thumb I was taught was to look at an unsplit log.  If it's not cracked at all, it's still too green to burn.  As it dries it loses some volume, which causes the cracking (that runs across the rings, with the grain of the wood). 

    Don't know if that's helpful at all to you.  The best suggestion is probably to burn a small piece of it and see what kind of smoke it produces.
  7. My .02:  I have a peach tree that has some dead limbs on it.  I cut them and threw them at the base of a cedar tree to dry.  The wood is an orange-ish color.  I can't wait to use it but I plan to let it dry for 6-ish months.
  8. Thanks for the tip.  I am gonna check my unsplit logs and see if it is cracked or not. 
  9. Maybe I'll do like you and wait 6 months.  I don't have a cedar tree but I will just let it lay out and dry out.  Thanks for the tip.

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