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#145711 - 01/20/09 10:28 PM Burning Tree Piles
bobguillory Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Eunice, LA
Hey Guys


Renovating my 20 acre lake and now have huge tree piles. Some are large and fresh and some old from the bottom of the lake. I need to fill this lake before Spring weeds take over. The fresh trees have been down about 2 months. Need your experiences on the best way to burn/eradicate these tree piles.

Thanks Dr. Bob Guillory

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#145715 - 01/20/09 10:47 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: bobguillory]
Brettski Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6925
Loc: Illinois
b-g
I watched 2 veteran pond building dirt guys transform my forest into a 5 ac pond. It was just another day in the dirt for them, building another pond. They were good.
They worked as a team, usually one on a dozer and one with a track hoe. I was mildly shocked when they would torch a pile of green trees the next morning after they were plucked. A gallon or two of diesel and poof! I never saw it, but they told tales of others that might use an old tire shoved under the pile and dowsed with diesel ;\)
The key was to tend the fire. It was just like a big campfire, adjusting the logs and timbers to burn within the pile. They would once again use the dozer and the trackhoe, often in concert to move the trees to just the right angle to create the best burn. It was like they were reading each other's mind, working the pile from opposite sides to push the big sticks around.
After a day or two, after it was down to root balls, they would use the trackhoe to select a spot nearby where digging a hole would not compromise the pond design. They would bury whatever root balls were not wanted in about 12 - 15 feet deep holes.
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#145729 - 01/21/09 06:37 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Brettski]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
Once the trees have been pushed down about the only thing you can do is burn them. BRETTSKI'S post made it look almost poetic, but that is sure how it is done. Once a fire is hot, rain cannot put it out, keep the fuel ontop of the heat and the timber will burn to nothing.

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#145736 - 01/21/09 08:00 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: bobguillory]
RobA Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
How big are the piles and how quickly do you need to get rid of them? I had several large piles of trees after clearing about 6 acres of my property. I burned a few myself using diesel to start the fire. Once it got going it didn't matter if there was green wood in there or not. The problem I had it was difficult to push the pile together after the middle burned out. After some of the fires were done (it smoldered for more than a week) I was still left with a lot of material to burn and/or dispose of. When my dozer guy came back for more clearing I had him do some burning since he could push the hot piles tighter with his dozer. He made quick work of it. Any leftovers were piled out of sight in a corner of my property. Some of my burn piles were huge......


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#145743 - 01/21/09 09:23 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: RobA]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13868
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Rob, a fire that size would scare the daylights out of me. At this time, most of Texas is under a burn ban that even includes outdoor BBQ grills.
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#145744 - 01/21/09 09:28 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: RobA]
david u Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 359
Loc: denton & montague counties
You will need a dozer on site to burn the piles to nothing. One the main causes of poor burns is the amount of dirt most contractors push up in the pile. I did my own clearing, so this was not an issue. I wouldn't recommend using a tractor/front loader to repush while pile is still hot(I've done it & it was hard on my tractor) It will cause the seals in the hydralic cylinders to leak. A 5-10 mph breeze is beneficial. Throw 1-2 gallon diesel with 5 gallon bucket onto old tires thrown on top of the pile on the upwind side. Light and add diesel as necessary to get tires burning. The melting tires will drip down and ignite lower trees.




Large brush piles will send embers several hundred feet into the air, so I tend to burn when it is overcast or misting rain to avoid accidental fires. Allow at least 12 hours of your time to "burn-down" the large piles...du
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#145746 - 01/21/09 09:35 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Dave Davidson1]
RobA Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
 Originally Posted By: Dave Davidson1
Rob, a fire that size would scare the daylights out of me.

The amount of heat that thing threw out was incredible. I'm sure if the space shuttle were overhead the astronauts would have seen it.

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#145763 - 01/21/09 10:20 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: RobA]
Brettski Offline
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6925
Loc: Illinois
david u,
Surely a difference in technique with the tire igintion method, but our tires don't really melt as much as they create a constant, hot source of ignition. Jammed into the pile at the bottom is like a hot core. The only tough part is getting them ignited...hello diesel.
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#145769 - 01/21/09 10:43 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Brettski]
Brettski Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6925
Loc: Illinois
oh, and btw...
in most parts, the tire trick is an EPA no-no ;\)
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#145770 - 01/21/09 10:44 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Brettski]
david u Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 359
Loc: denton & montague counties
Brettski, a good point! Maybe different "kind" of tires. I try to use large tractor tires. The problem with car tires is the steel left behind after they burn has to be dealt with...du
Of course newspaper can also be used to start the fire


Edited by david u (01/21/09 10:48 AM)
Edit Reason: EPA thing
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#145776 - 01/21/09 10:55 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: david u]
Brettski Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6925
Loc: Illinois
Funny you should mention the tractor tire thing, David.
In this thread, there's a pic of the first load of tires that I took to the pond for structure. The biggie in the front was my prize. I had big plans for that tire...maybe a 200# channel cat spawn or something like that.
Anyway, after I busted my my hump trying to manually handle that thing, I off-loaded it at the pondsite (while they were excavating) for structure placement later on.
When the pond was complete, I went to drag my prize tractor tire outta the woods and set it up for structure. What the...it's gone! Huh? I asked my excavator. Yep...up in smoke.
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#145806 - 01/21/09 02:19 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Brettski]
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
A couple things that I've learned from burning thousands of trees. Once you get a good fire going and some really hot coals, you can add any tree to the fire and it will burn. Doesn't matter how green it is, it will burn.

The trick is getting that fire started and developing the bed of coals. Some trees that have been on the ground for months wont burn, but others start off real good, then die on you. My best trick for getting any and every tree to burn is to cut it into quarters. Once the end grain is exposed, it will burn.


Diesel is OK for starting a fire, but only stuff that burns easily like kindling. You can dump five gallons of diesel on some logs and watch the diesel burn off without any more damage to the logs then turning them black. A tire works good too, but be careful of the laws in your area. Here, I can use a tire to start a fire, but I cannot burn them to get rid of them. It's a numbers game, burn one, your fine, burn twenty and you are going to jail.

Once the fire is going, be careful on the tractor. Allot of cab tractors catch on fire while working a burn pile because the operator doesn't realize how hot it is. The cab keeps him cool while the hoses are melting away. When that happens, hydraulic fluid shoots out and then it's too late.

Why worry about weeds growing in the pond? They will add structure to the bottom of it and help stop silt from making the water muddy while it's filling up.

Good luck
Eddie
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#145908 - 01/22/09 07:00 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: eddie_walker]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
Three piles the size of your house will burn better and be easier to repile that one big pile the size of a hotel.

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#145914 - 01/22/09 07:23 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: otto]
RobA Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
 Originally Posted By: otto
Three piles the size of your house will burn better and be easier to repile that one big pile the size of a hotel.

I had 3 more piles to burn that were almost as big \:o

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#145922 - 01/22/09 09:06 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: otto]
Theo Gallus Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12433
Loc: Central Ohio
 Originally Posted By: otto
Three piles the size of your house will burn better and be easier to repile that one big pile the size of a hotel.

Otto must be a lot of fun to play Monopoly with.
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#145941 - 01/22/09 10:37 AM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Theo Gallus]
jeffhasapond Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 7613
Loc: Pond in No CA, Me in So CA
 Originally Posted By: Theo Gallus
 Originally Posted By: otto
Three piles the size of your house will burn better and be easier to repile that one big pile the size of a hotel.

Otto must be a lot of fun to play Monopoly with.


Not if he sets your houses on fire. Park Place is expensive enough as it is without Otto burning down the houses.

Burn piles are highly regulated out by Dave and I, course that's a good thing give the extreme fire danger that we have during most of the year.
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#145961 - 01/22/09 01:52 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: jeffhasapond]
Jersey Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 469
Loc: Georgia
I can't tell you how to burn tree piles, but I am an expert on how not to do it.

We had about 8-10 acres worth of trees piled up from clearing the area for the pond. I had been trying to burn them for about a week without success. Like Eddie said, diesel just burns off. So I figured it would take more diesel and several tires. So I filled about 20 five gallons cans of diesel, about 20 tires, and a can of gas for the generator. Spent a whole day pouring and lighting diesel without getting the pile to light. Tired and ready to go home and take a shower, I poured out the last can and as I lit it, the voice in my head, smarter than I am, said wait, that's not diesel, that's gas. Well, about that time BOOM! Once I determined that I was still alive, I looked to see where the kids were. My 8 year old was standing there, eyes like saucers, said "Daddy, your hair is on fire". Sure enough.

The skin peeled off like the fat off a baked ham. I healed. No damage done.

Moral of story: Be careful.
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#145963 - 01/22/09 02:00 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Jersey]
david u Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 359
Loc: denton & montague counties
Great story and somewhat ironic because, though I thought about it, did not mention that gasoline is a huge no-no in my post on tree burning. But, though all grown ups know better, the accidental use of gas is always a possibility, Thanks for sharing and glad no one got hurt...du
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#145996 - 01/22/09 08:55 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: Jersey]
RobA Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
Glad it turned out OK Jersey. Good story.

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#146100 - 01/23/09 04:01 PM Re: Burning Tree Piles [Re: RobA]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
That is the first thing i should have said BE CAREFUL.
When we burn I always have at least one man watching the area.

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