rocket mass heater dvd*
Permies likes woodland and the farmer likes Poplar - good for what? permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login
permies » forums » growies » woodland
Bookmark "Poplar - good for what?" Watch "Poplar - good for what?" New topic
Author

Poplar - good for what?

Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
A friend of ours has cut down some poplars and has offered us some of the wood.  They said for our wood-burning stove once it's seasoned but I'm not sure that it's so great for that.  Can anyone clue me in as to what you'd use poplar for?
Gwen Lynn


Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 736
Here's a link about someone who thinks it's good for something:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091127/ap_on_bi_ge/us_trees_for_development_new_mexico
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Poplar isn't much use as firewood; it makes a lot of ash and doesn't produce much heat.  I guess if it's all you've got, though, you should use it.  Spruce isn't the best firewood in the world, either (although a lot better than poplar!) and that's about all we had in Alaska, so we used it and it kept us warm.

If you had a rocket stove, the leguminous shrubs talked about in that article would probably make better firewood than poplar.

Kathleen
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Thanks.  I have a LOT to learn about wood.  That was great info that poplar gives up a lot of ash.  Is that the same for silver birch (we have a lot of those that need thinning out). All I know at present is that Oak is good for firewood.  If anyone has any info about other good woods or less good ones I'd be glad to have it.  Plus, does anyone have any links to good sites that show the barks of trees once they are cut.  I've a feeling that the local wood merchants could easily pull the wool over our eyes at the mo as we're so ignorant on the wood front.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
You might want to get a good tree identification book -- it should have pictures of the bark, although bark alone isn't always going to be enough for identification. 

Birch, if dried (and it needs to be split to dry, as it will just rot otherwise), does made very good firewood.

Kathleen
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
innoculate!

fungus. poplar is useful for both edible and medicinal species. its a time and $ investment, but done well can compensate and return on the investment.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/u8h257qn2613k041/: some linited science with a few desireabel species

http://www.fungi.com/plugs/plugs.html: the pros. not to be disregarded.

Ive got cottonwood- populus trichcoarpa

boletes, oyster mushrooms, shiitake...I've had fair success with oysters.


also,dried wood is an an often disregarded soil ammendment as it is fairly void of plant nutrients PKN. however, its structural qualities are esential for bacteria, as well as fungus, and most other soil critters- imagina place with all the food you could eat but no shelter. this is often how ag soil specialists think of soil, only in terms of nutrients for plants. without the lignin and cellulose in decomposing wood ther eis not structure of 'buildings' which provide microorganisms to thrive. so its not a bad thing to simply let the logs 'rot'. it makes great soil

I often line up cbrush and logs in windrows in order to create the effect of swales on slopes. im not digging int the soil, but creating contour ridges which are essentially hugel beds. the y capture and cycle nutrients and water as the move downslope, concentrating them in walkable (and harvestable) ridges on my steep hills. you can do the same thing in areas with almost no pitch, but will have greater success if you plant the to in-

please see the wicking bed notes at : http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/2439_0/permaculture/wicking-raised-bed for ideas about how to use woody debris in a hugelbed type wicking irrigation system or grey water fed bed. for my design, wood is essential as it is a a great sponge when buried in the soil.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Deston, thank you for the idea to use woody debris to make swales on a slope.  We have a shallow slope, rather than a steep one, but because the soil is so heavy, we have a lot of run off.  Being in my fifties with a bad back, and the soil being so heavy, I've dreaded the thought of having to dig several hundred feet of swales.  But, I can get leaves from the yards of friends in town and make windrows of them, and I can make windrows of the straw from the tall grass I cut (all of it that's too mature to make good hay).  I may also be able to get some forest debris -- will have to work on that.  And moldy hay might be possible, too.

Kathleen
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
let lazy do your work! im glad that youve found some direction- the windrowed wood/debris is great habitat, helps capture and infiltrate almost as well as a swale, and works better the long it sits.

in a few years, or if you compost and soil the windrows, they will be plantable with all your wilder, more independent greens and so on.  and there will be mushrooms!

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
aspen/poplar is tricky for burning..and difficult to properly season..it will rot from the inside out if not properly seasoned and if allowed to sit on the ground it will soak up water like a sponge and rot.

properly seasoned poplar will burn in a wood furnace..we use it on days that we don't need to hold heat for a long time..like when it is in the 30's and 40's outside..and just need to bring up the temp some..

we keep a large woodpile of poplar seasoned and covered..stacked up off the ground and with lots of air space..

the smaller pieces are wonderful for kindling wood..the larger pieces if not split will hold fire longer than you think..and work fairly well in airtight woodstoves or furnaces..we have a huge wood furnace.

the damper wood will even burn as will the rotton..if given enough kindling..but..don't expect it to heat overnight..it will be useful when you have the time to keep an eye on your fire rather thanb when you are gone or sleeping.

don't waste it though..it is good for a fire if properly used.

you can also make a pretty lumber out of it..and it can be put into kugelkulture as it will rot well..


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
excuse misspelling above, hugelkulture
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15614
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Hugelkultur (I think)

Poplar:  the mona lisa was painted on poplar!

The lumber is used .... as a "hardwood" - which seems a little odd to me.

From wikipedia:  "Poplar wood is also widely used in the snowboard industry for the snowboard core, because it has exceptional flexibility, and is sometimes used in the bodies of electric guitars and drums."

sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15614
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
My impression is that poplar will grow if you just stick a poplar stick in the ground.  Like willow.

Some varieties of poplar will grow freaky tall, freaky fast.

Anybody know if poplar might be good to plant next to an outhouse (as a poop beast)?

For woodworking:  I think poplar is known for being slightly more flexible than most woods.  I have found a reference to a guy with a log cabin made out of poplar and it is over 30 years old and still going strong.

(googling)

Poplar appears to be very popular for paper these days.

...  I am reading several reports of don't plant them near septic tank drain fields as they will rip everything up - this makes me think they will make excellent poop beasts!

...  it is a common wood to use for pallets.  Some suggestions about using it for the innards of a couch.

...  I read where somebody liked using it for green wood projects.  Apparently, when it is green, it is very soft and easy to work.  And then when it dries it is very hard.  And it will shrink well around dry pegs without splitting - so you can make things that have no nails/screws or glue. 

... here is an interesting note:  If used as siding, it weathers well as long as it is vertical and not touching the soil.  The report is that it will last longer than you this way.  Untreated.  But!  If it is horizontal, it will last two years at most.  Fascinating!

... poplar is the most popular wood for the insides of cabinets.

... it is possible that poplar trees are very good at removing toxins from soils - I have read a few suggestions in this direction, but nothing terribly definite.

... the bark is good for baskets and ... shingles? 

...  the outer sapwood gets really nasty really fast.  If you are gonna use the wood, you will want to cut this off quickly. 

... apparently, some poplar wood will warp a lot when it is drying.

... some folks think poplar is the best wood for making bee hives.

...  I have read of at least six different people using tongue and groove poplar for indoor siding.


Jeremy Bunag
volunteer

Joined: May 30, 2007
Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
Regarding burning, I like this poem I found inside a bundle of firewood I bought (probably at a gas station):

Beech wood fires are bright and clear
- If the logs are kept a year.
Hickory's very good, they say,
- If for long it's laid away.
Birch and Pine logs burn too fast,
- Blaze up bright and do not last.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mold,
- Even the very flames are cold.
Persimmon fires are hot and near,
- If the logs are split and air.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
- Fills your eyes and makes you choke.

Oak and Maple, if dry and old,
- Keep away the winter cold.
Cherry wood will scent your room,
- With an incense like perfume.
But Ash wood wet and Ash wood dry,
- A king shall warm his slippers by!

I liked it so much I hung it in one of my cabinets...
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
paul unfortunately that is not true about poplar being easy to grow...once you have a quaking aspen, you have a forest though..as they do spread by a huge root system..

One tree a forest makes.

if you cut one down it sends up thousands of suckers from the roots in the ground and in one season they can be 25 ' or more tall.

they are short lived ..esp if they get a nick or cut in them, they will disease very easily and die..but they make a lovely forest duff as they fall and die as they will rot completely if left for any time on the wet floor of the forest..and that provides nursery for any other living organisms.

aspens are a wierd tree as they have a very soft soft smooth bark when young, which very easily will damage, but when they mature the bottom to the top they begin to form a woody bark..takes a while though..even older aspens can still have immature bark.

it is really odd to find an old aspen tree, but we do have some here..

our forests began with just 3 aspen trees here.

it is difficult to cut them out..yhou have to pull out all of the root branches along with the trunks, or you'll have trees.

it is best if you do not use poplar wood for outdoor projects..as it will rot quickly if left to weather..even for fences..as we have used it before for fencing and it doesn't last..even if not touching the ground. i certainly would not recommend it for siding or shingles....as in my experience any wood left outdoors for any length of time is better for your hugel beds !!
Mark Vander Meer


Joined: Dec 12, 2009
Posts: 74
I often work with cottonwood, (populas tricocarpa) both in our sawmill and reestablishing these trees in riparian areas.  In the mill we sell cottonwood for truck decks, bridge decking, barn floors or any other surface that might be severely abused.  It is soft when green, but when it dries, you can barely drive a nail into it.  Once dry it is very stable; however it does tend to twist in the drying.  We sell this wood for about $2.00 per board foot. 

Cottonwood is relatively easy to establish.  We use seedlings grown from seed.  Rooted cuttings work ok, but often take years to get their roots structured correctly.  A seed grown cottonwood grows much faster and is more drought tolerent.

We often reestablish or increase the size of cottonwood groves by lightly scarifying the roots and allowing them to sprout.  We get about 3 feet of growth per year from the sprouts here in Montana.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15614
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Brenda,

I think that aspens might be worthy of a whole new thread!

 
 
subject: Poplar - good for what?
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books