# OT: Estimating amount of ash from burning wood

• posted on January 3, 2005, 5:04 am
We recently moved and there are several piles of wood on the property that I intend to burn. I'm assuming they are piles from trees that were cut down and then left to rot. From the surrounding trees, I would say that it is maple. We live in the northeast and get alot of snow in the winter.
It is soft and mushy and it might not even burn without some accelerant. What I want to estimate is the amount of ash that will result, so I can get an idea of what to do with the ash. I have the room to simply bury it, but that would depend on the volume of ash.
I know this is an open ended question, but I am just looking for an educated guess. Would you say that the amount of ash would be about 1/3 the amount of wood?? 1/4 the amount???
Also, other than burning, is there a better way of eliminating a pile of wood. I thought about renting a chipper and composting the chips.
As always...Thanks.
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• posted on January 3, 2005, 6:12 am
Rileyesi wrote:

A chipper is a good idea but it depends on how big the stuff is. Forestry/pruning guys drag around a chipper that can tear up 4-5" diameter stuff, smaller chippers can only got up to 2-1/2 to 3" and home type chippers are probably limited to 1-1/2" diameter stuff.
The amount of ash left depends on how hot you get the fire. If you burn it you probably want to wait until past the middle of the summer. I don't have any figures but based on what I have seen, the ash remaining shouldn't be more than 10 percent of the original and most likely much less than that. Pile of stumps and trash wood 8-10 feet high usually burn down to less than 6" Punky wood will burn to practically nothing.
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• posted on January 3, 2005, 12:45 pm

WOW!
The amount of non-combustible material does not decrease by bacterial action.
Waiting until the rest of the woods or the meadow is dry is asking for trouble.
Best time to burn is now, where the snow will control any problems, but that would take some prior planning. Elevating the center of the stack, then a covering to shed the bulk of the snow should get you a dry interior to heap the wet upon. If you're hot to trot and don't want bonfires next winter, cover now, wait until the grass greens up, and it's raining before lighting this spring.
1-2% maximum ash volume, though unconsumed carbon may add to that, and if you live in NE with acid granitic soil, you'll want to spread it about to sweeten things and promote growth.
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• posted on January 3, 2005, 11:09 am
(Rileyesi) wrote:

Based on what I see in my fireplace, my guess would be more on the order of 2 or 3 percent.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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• posted on January 3, 2005, 11:53 am
The world doesn't really need all that smoke. I hire a chipper with a 12" throat, but it's about \$100/hr with a crew. The chips are great on paths and in the garden, but your chips may break down very rapidly if the wood is soft. If you really want it to burn well, you'll have to spread it out so the sun gets on it. Wet wood in a pile may never dry.
If you burn, just spread the ash around the area. It will disappear.
Wilson

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• posted on January 3, 2005, 1:11 pm
On 03 Jan 2005 05:04:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com.gov (Rileyesi) wrote:

Google search... wood ash content over 500,000 hits but the first hit is
www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1993/misra93a.pdf
Ash content will be less than 2% and depends on the temperature of the burn. If you burn a large pile you will destroy organic material in the top soil. Don't plan on growing grass there until you replenish the consumed organics.