Inside Dead Ash Trees

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by jpanhalt, May 24, 2016.

  1. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    I don't belong to any garden forums, so I thought I would toss this out.

    Virtually all American Ash trees have been attacked by the (Asian)Emerald Ash Borer beetle. Its larvae girdle the tree below the bark, and the tree dies.

    In the past 4 years, I have taken down more trees than I can count. Today, I removed the remains of a tree that fell of its own accord after years of being dead. Instead of the usual boggey, dried, or worm eaten remains, that tree had a solid rust red interior. That material was very light (like balsa wood or Styrofoam), but not mushy. I have not tried to burn it. When hit with a chain saw, it turns to dust. I am thinking it may be the mineralized skeleton of the cellulosic structure of the live tree. The red, could be iron oxide and/or other things. There does not appear to be any remaining cellulosic structure.

    Google was not helpful. If I have a chance tomorrow, I will do some chemistry on it, but in the meantime, I would appreciate any insights or search terms.

    John
     
  2. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    4,009
    1,530
    I cut firewood on a friends property, the same white ash trees, so far haven't come across any thing like you experienced. He runs a specialized pallet company, makes pallets to order for shipping machinery and such. He told me the ash borer came into the country in pallet wood from China. When pallets are going to Asian countries the wood must be "sterilized", brought to a certain temperature in a kiln, by that countries laws, certification must go with the pallet. The US has no such requirements for pallets coming here. Wonder what the next tree killing "bug" will be?
     
  3. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,114
    3,039
    I'm going to guess that the tree was eaten from the inside out, once breached by beetles or woodpeckers, by decay organisms. Some cocktail of fungi and bacteria. It's basically the same thing that would happen if the tree were on the ground, but it happened before the tree came down.
     
  4. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    The affected shipment entered at Detroit in 2002. It is a shame that nothing was done about it. Ash is a beautiful wood. My property and the surrounding woods are at least 1/3 ash. One of the uncounted problems is log jams in our rivers by dead ash. It causes flooding. Fortunately, my home is well above the affected area, but my driveway is not. Spent most of the day two years ago clearing out one such jam with a couple of county park rangers. As I expected, the Emerald Ash Borer has now jumped species and infests another species of trees: https://entomologytoday.org/2014/10/10/emerald-ash-borer-may-have-spread-to-different-tree/ Just wait until it hits our oak trees.

    John
     
  5. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    4,009
    1,530
    I'm not that far away from where you live. There is something going on with maple trees too. They aren't really dying but large branches are splitting off of the trunks. This is on old large trees.
     
  6. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,797
    1,103
    I understand, from a relative who used to work for a major European electronics company, that wooden pallets were totally banned for shipments into the US.
     
  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    The US "had" no such requirements..
    We do now ;)
    https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/de...or-wood-packaging-material-(wpm)-into-the-u.s.
    and more..

    Wood pallets are not banned for shipments into the US... Maybe certain companies do,etc..but there is no global ban..


    At work we only reuse/accept pallets marked with "HT" (heat treated)
     
    shortbus likes this.
  8. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,797
    1,103
    Thanks for the clarification. I guess that particular company decided it wasn't worth the hassle using wooden pallets, so it was an intra-company ban. Don't know what they used instead.
     
  9. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    Fiberglass, plastic and metal pallets are available..
     
  10. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,114
    3,039
    Wooden pallets are not allowed into most food-grade plants in the U.S. Maybe none - I forget if it's law. There are steel and plastic alternatives. If you ship product on wood pallets LTL, you might run into problems because your wood pallets cannot go along with no-wood shipments.
     
  11. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    Additional information:
    1) It does burn, sustains combustion, and smells like burning wood. Leaves an ash.
    2) Density is about 0.14 g/mL, which compares to medium balsa wood at 8#/ft^3 of 0.13 g/mL

    It must just be the friable remains after dry rot. The color is nice:
    upload_2016-5-25_15-43-46.png
    What seemed unusual to me was its rigidity as opposed to spongy.

    Come June and a rainy day, it will be burned along with a hay wagon load of other dead vegetation from the past couple of weeks. BTW, plastic pallets are nice. I store my wood for heating on them. They do not rot.

    John
     
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,283
    6,794
  13. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    Thank goodness the USDA has finally decided to do something -- 14 years late. That wasp was known from day one. In Japan, it is the reason they still have ash trees.

    Wasps are amazing. Most do not have stingers. For example, my home is a log cabin, so carpenter bees are a real nuisance, and combined with the destruction woodpeckers can be a major problem. About 2 to 3 years ago, I notice an odd wasp with distinctive markings. It had not been reported in my area and was identified as a "mason wasp." The mason wasp is not a wood borer and has no stinger, but it invades the tunnels made by carpenter bees and kills the larvae. It makes its nests in the woods and is no bother at all. Carpenter bees appear in April and the mason wasp is later. After they appear, I no longer have to spray for carpenter bees. Problems with carpenter bees and common woodpeckers have gotten seriously less in the past few years. Then, this Spring, I noticed a very beautiful bird with a patch of red on its head, but it did not alight on the trunk of trees like woodpeckers do. Instead, it landed on branches and only pecked at the ground. Google quickly identified it as a Norther Red Flicker. This is photo from my window a few days ago:
    upload_2016-5-25_17-46-29.png

    The Red Flicker is in the woodpecker genus, but doesn't attack my house. I love them, and they apparently help to keep the destructive wood peckers away. It is really quite a beautiful bird in fight.

    I grew up in the asphalt jungle of East LA and spent my life in cities. To say the least , I am impressed with nature's balances. If only our politicians were half as smart.

    John
     
  14. Hypatia's Protege

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 1, 2015
    2,781
    1,229
    While I apologize that I cannot be of much assistance with the dust's composition apart from opining that it's erythraean appearance likely owes to the presence of certain fungi (Spec 'red yeasts') -- I'm bound to say, however, that the title of this thread puts me uneasily in mind of Montague James expatiation upon the subject of 'hollow' ash trees:eek::eek::eek::D

    Very best regards
    HP
     
    boatsman and jpanhalt like this.
  15. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    Quite a mystery story. I guess the moral is, witches should be burned, not hung? ;)

    I can't read real depth.

    John
     
  16. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,031
    3,800
    Water/moisture makes its way to the top of a standing tree by osmosis - which requires the semi-permeable membranes of cell membranes (and cellulosic cell walls in the case of plants/trees) and can reach hundreds of feet if the concentration of the sap is high enough.

    Osmosis is no longer possible once cell walls/cell membranes are breached and water cannot be forced up the tree. Depending on the topography of the bark, water can shed (and keep the inside dry) or infiltrate (hydrate the tree). Bark with water shedding topography will keep a fugus-eaten tree dry.

    Dead/fallen trees maintain moisture through capillary action and gravity-flowing infiltration of rain water through the bark. Capillary action can only reach a few feet and is very slow and less than a foot unless the top of the capillary is protected from evaporation.
     
  17. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    2,648
    762
    I know that USA, as so many other countries around the globe, have since a long time, stringent regulations requiring wood HT treatment, instead of the toxic chemicals usually applied in the past. (Bromine comes to mind but I could be dead wrong...).

    As far as I know, it applies to pallets, temporary constructions, packaging, even dunnage used into cargo holds or for securing when stuffing containers.

    I still recall a not so common requirement but showing up, from times to times, for machinery moving on tracks and drilling rigs returning to USA: they had to be thoroughly washed down ashore, prior loading.

    When working as Supercargo in a steel mill loading wire rod coils, we tried to avoid them to use unidentified pallets as dunnage to secure the cargo, because, when arrived to the destination, the complains were frequent and in loud voice. It costed dearly to dispose of (burnt in special places - no options).

    BTW, John, just to add to your worries, Google for the silent menace it means having vessels taking ballast in one place and pumping it out at the other side of the ocean. No ecosystem can resist that! In theory, vessels expected to deballast in port, are required to change their ballast in open sea; in theory at least.

    Who knows what it actually happens at sea, before entering your waters...or ours, for the case.
     
  18. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,687
    900
    I grew up in SoCal and surfed many beaches south of Los Angeles' San Pedro port. I know well the stuff we ran into from ballast -- mostly tar that we could see, but who knows what else.

    John
     
  19. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    4,009
    1,530
    Not doing that is the suspected cause of the great lakes zebra mussel infestation. Ships coming in through the Saint Lawrence seaway waited until they were near their destination to dump their ballast water instead of exchanging at sea.

    The pallet thing is only what a friend in the industry told me, the HT wood may not have been enforced before.
     
  20. Hypatia's Protege

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 1, 2015
    2,781
    1,229
    -Or- In addition to 'Gers';), lycanthropes are, perhaps, best left un-oppressed --- Stated otherwise; if one may assume the form of a hare at will, she might reasonably be expected to have other, more sinister, 'tricks up her sleeve';););)

    Best regards
    HP:)
     
Loading...