Archive of: Firewood
The Best Firewood: Things You Need To Know About Plantation Timber Or Red Gum
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The cooler months of the year will see those lucky enough to have a wood fireplace rushing to stock up on wood to last through the winter. If you are smart, you will have done your research and be in-the-know about where to get the best firewood. Similar to when you are cooking, when it comes to having the best blaze to keep your family warm and cosy during the winter season, you need to have the best ingredients.
When choosing the most appropriate wood there are some wood types that will tick all the boxes for you, and produce the best results for your fireplace, the environment and your hip pocket. Let’s look at some of the factors that make plantation timbers such as red gum, the firewood that gives you the most value for money.
If you consider how many people use a fireplace during winter, you may wonder where all the wood will be coming from and how sustainable is the practice. Plantation timber is grown sustainably to ensure that as trees are cut, there are new trees that are already growing to replace what is being used. In particular, the river redgum, also known as eucalyptus, is one species that grows abundantly throughout the country. It is a popular species for use in plantations because it grows in a wide variety of climatic conditions, is able to grow in extreme temperatures of hot and cold, and is able to survive and thrive through variances in rainfall.
As we have spoken about before in our previous articles, the hardwoods are the best choice for wood for the fireplace because it is long burning and produces less smoke. The quality of that wood has an important role to play. If the wood is moist in any way, it can cause a residue that leaves the wood during burning, and collects upon the chimney, which if not cleaned properly can eventually cause a fire. River redgum is a quality wood for using in the fireplace because it is in the hard wood family, but remember, the wood that you use is only as good as how well it has been cared for. So to get the most from your hardwood, be sure to store it correctly and allow for good air flow.
For more information about the best firewood, or to find out where our plantation wood comes from, pop by for a visit at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre today.
How To Pick The Best Firewood for Clean-burning, Long-lasting Fires
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Who doesn’t love a toasty warm fireplace to heat up their home during the cold winter months? If you have ever struggled to get it going, you may be surprised to know that different woods will produce very different results.
Your choice of wood is one variable that you can control, to assist in getting a good fire started. Additionally, how the wood is arranged prior to lighting the fire will have a major impact on how well the fire allows for oxygen to feed the flames and burn the wood.
Kindling in a Variety of Sizes
An important part of choosing the right wood is in the size of wood for getting the fire going. The first thing you need is a good stack of dry kindling of various sizes. After arranging the newspaper in place, you will arrange the kindling from smallest to largest before placing the smaller of the hardwood logs. At this point you can light the newspaper and get the fire going, before putting on the log that you want to burn.
Dry and Dense Wood
When choosing logs for your fire, it is best to look for wood that is dry and dense. Wood that is lighter and less dense, will burn quickly, and you will find that you are using a lot more wood than if you were using a harder wood. Wood that is moist, will burn slower, but is not as clean as dry wood, and it will actually need to use some of the heat energy to get the log burning. It also leaves a residue in the chimney that will require extra cleaning.
Hardwood is the usual wood of choice, as it burns longer and slower than wood that is not as dense. It is best to split your hardwood into logs of a similar size to fit into your fireplace, while having some smaller sized logs for getting the fire going.
Believe it or not, but how well you store your wood will have a huge effect on how well it burns, as well as how long it will last.
- Wood needs to be stored in a well-ventilated area, preferably inside, but if you are only able to store it outside it needs to be covered with a tarp or a waterproof cloth.
- It will need to be elevated above ground level to prevent moisture and stacked in such a way that allows oxygen to flow around the wood.
- A pattern of crossing the wood is a good way, but as long as you allow air flow to travel around the wood it will prevent moisture from getting into it and deteriorating the wood.
Talk to Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre for information about finding a good wood supplier near you.
The Top Four Choices For Firewood
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When the winter chills hit the air and we are looking for a way of keeping the family warm, many people are seeing the benefit and joy of having a wood combustion heater to heat their homes. The key to getting the most out of your wood combustion heater is choosing firewood that is going to give you the best experience, both on your hip pocket, for the environment and inside your fireplace.
The best kind of wood for burning in a wood combustion heater are your hardwoods, as the softer woods burn too quickly, which would mean you are burning more, and running out faster. In Australia, we are lucky to have a variety of hardwoods that are available depending where you live. Some of these include red gum, beech, ironbark and gum. Your local supplier such as Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre will be able to point you in the direction of a plentiful supply. Having said that, be sure to order wood early before winter to ensure that you have a good supply ready for when the temperature really cools down.
For some, there may be concern with the sustainability of using wood for burning, so it is important to be mindful of from where your firewood is being sourced. Often arborists will have a stockpile of good hardwood available from trees they have cut down, which they usually sell by the truckload. A good garden centre will likely have a good supply of plantation hardwood or be able to point you in the right direction. Plantation hardwood is grown sustainably to ensure that it is replenished for the following years, so choosing sustainable sources is a must.
Dry is Best
The drier the wood, the better it is for burning. The more moisture content in the wood means that it will not burn properly and the energy from the fire will be used to dry the wood as it burns, which means less warmth for you and your family. Additionally, wood that has been freshly cut, and is still moist produces pollutants that can clog up your chimney, which will need to be cleaned out more regularly; otherwise, it becomes a safety hazard.
If wood is not stored properly, it will gather moisture and not be in optimal condition for burning in your wood heater. Wood should be stored preferably in a shed that is well ventilated and also provide protection from the weather. If you need to store it outside, it should be stacked in a way that it is stored off the ground and there is ample space to allow for air to circulate around it.
Tips For Keeping Your Firewood Dry
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If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace to keep those cold winter evenings toasty, then you will want to have a well-stocked supply of dry firewood. It is imperative that you keep your wood stock well organised and dry, to ensure that the wood does not take in moisture or become corrupted by animals.
Why Only Burn Dry Wood?
Freshly cut fire wood has a moisture content of around 50%, but this wood cannot be used as firewood due to a natural bio product that is released when burning wet wood – creosote. Creosote tar lines your chimney, and gradually builds up to the point where it can cause a chimney fire if not cleaned regularly.
Additionally, wet wood tends to give off a lot more emissions and smoke, which are unhealthy for the environment, odorous to your home and harmful to your lungs. Regular inhalation can lead to a variety of health complications.
If all of those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, dry wood is also more energy efficient than using wet wood. During the burning process, wet wood needs to evaporate more water content, which reduces the energy (heat) that is given off by the wood.
The optimal moisture content of dry firewood is around 15-20%. Wood that has been split and dried in the correct size for your fireplace is easier to light, and correct storage prevents rot and fungus from settling in.
Air flow around wood allows it to evaporate moisture without it causing rotting, so having a good storage facility/shed/box is important. Additionally, air flow underneath the wood will assist in your wood drying evenly, and allow for any moisture to evaporate without rotting the wood or growing fungus.
Where to Store Wood?
Best practice is for storing the bulk of your wood at least five feet away from the home. This allows it to have enough air flow to dry easily. However, wood that is to be used immediately should be brought into the home at least one day before it is to be burnt. This is because humidity in the home condenses on the surface of the wood if it is cold, which will make it hard to light.
Firewood that is being stored inside needs to be a safe distance away from the fireplace to ensure that there is no chance of it catching a spark and going up in flames. Different local governments have their own regulations about this, so be sure to check what the requirements are for your local area. For tips on building a fire storage area in your garden, talk to one of our gardening experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.
What You Need To Know About Australian Standard AS4013
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During the cooler months of the year, we often feel the pinch of the cold, and we are drawn to heating our spaces and places by any means necessary. Often the most pleasing way to do so is by burning wood, using a wood heater, which brings both the warmth of natural wood as well as the pleasant aromas that accompany this mode of heating. As many of us are aware, we have been burning wood for centuries without too much regulation, but like many things in the world of today, this too has become an area where things are being regulated. As a result, it is important that we are aware of whether our wood heater complies with Australian Safety standards.
The Science behind It
Scientists have been doing a bit of research and discovered that smoke from wood heaters has some distinct elements that include the unburnt fuel that goes into the atmosphere as well as some pollution, which can lead to respiratory conditions if inhaled. They tell us that minimising the wood smoke pollution by ensuring that your wood burning heater complies with the AS4013 will be beneficial to everyone, including your hip pocket.
Choosing the Right Wood Heater
A key inspiration for the Australian Standard is likely to do with the quality of some of the wood heaters that are now on the market. Manufacturing cheap products might work for some companies who save themselves money by not adhering to the Australian Safety Standards, but it will not do you any favours in the long run. Also, you could be contributing to your own ill-health. According to the Consumers Federation of Australia, it was found that in the smoke that is emitted from burning wood, there can be small particles that when inhaled are able to breach the lung lining and end up in the blood stream. Additionally, they found that there might often be other chemicals that end up in the blood stream, which could be detrimental to your health.
Thankfully, there are ways of reducing the likelihood of these health risks so it is important to research thoroughly the product you are buying, or talk to an expert who knows more than you do, such as one of our friendly staff at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre. One way of reducing the risk of chemicals getting from the wood into your blood stream is through using wood that is dry, as well as opening the air controls on the device for around 15 minutes after you have put in more wood. It is recommended to buy a wood heater that conforms to the AS4013, as well as choosing one that is more fuel efficient.
From The Ground Up: Knowing The Importance Of Soil In Landscaping
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When landscaping your garden there is much to consider. What sort of plants you want to grow, how you want to design your garden, what you plan to use your garden space for, how much money you want to spend on it, what you need to build to complete the space and who is going to do the work. One area that is of the upmost importance is having a healthy foundation for your plants in which to grow. The health of your soil is one of the fundamental considerations because it can make a huge difference to the longevity of the space and how much maintenance work you will need to do, to keep it at its best.
Healthy plants cannot grow in unhealthy soil, the same way good ideas cannot grow in a negative headspace. We all know that keeping your soil in balance is imperative to ensuring that your plants get the best start in life, and that they continue to flourish as the days, weeks and years roll on. But even more important than that, is to ensure that your soil is alive with life and vitality. Your soil is a living breathing organism, so get it into shape before you even think about buying plants. Talk to one of our garden gurus at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre about how to get your soil into shape.
Reduce Pests and Disease
Believe it or not, but the health of your soil will have a big impact on the amount of pests and disease that frequent your garden. Pests and disease are a natural part of the way that Mother Nature cleans up after herself. They come in to clear away anything that is not healthy, to correct the imbalance in the garden. Healthy soil keeps your plants in optimal condition so that your plants are thriving and there is nothing to clean up.
Keep Weeds at Bay
If there are key nutrients missing from your soil, the weeds will come in to provide the missing ingredients that your soil is lacking. They also come in to fill in the spaces that are not covered, which is why mulching is such a great weed deterrent. Creating that balance yourself means that your garden does not have to take matters into its own hands, leaving more of your energy to enjoy your garden, and focus on the fun stuff, rather than fighting weeds, pests and disease.
Four Tips On How To Water Your Plants The Right Way
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Like you, if your plants do not get enough water, they start to dry out and will begin to wilt and look unhealthy. Plants need a balance of both water and oxygen to their roots for them to be in optimal condition and have the best growth. Finding that balance is important to ensure that your plants are looking good and in good health. Different planting methods will need a different watering schedule, so do your research and, most importantly, get to know your plants!
Use a Soaker or a Drip Irrigation System
The first tip is to use the correct system for watering. The idea with watering is for the plants to get a thorough watering, evenly, but not too often. It is actually better to do it less often and give them a really good water, than to do it often and give them a quick sprinkle. As the root system benefits from drying out a little, a good soaking after they have been dried out will promote growth of the roots.
Focus on the Roots
When you water, stay away from the leaves as much as possible and focus on the roots. This includes watering evenly around the root area of the plant, to ensure that there is even growth. The roots are the part of the plant that draws all of the nutrients from the soil up and into the plant. Watering the leaves makes your plant much more susceptible to diseases so stick to focusing on the roots.
Water in the Morning
The idea is for the plant to get as much moisture as it needs from the soil around its roots, and then for the soil to dry out enough so that there is not too much water left overnight when the temperature cools down. Watering your plants in the morning allows for the water to be absorbed throughout the day and does not leave too much dampness in the soil overnight, when it can cause problems. Another benefit of watering in the morning is that if the leaves do get wet they will have enough time to dry out before the temperature cools down in the evening, and so prevent disease.
Use Quality Soil and Mulch
Know your soil and ensure that it is in good health before planting. Different types of soil will retain water or allow it to run off and be lost before the plant can get what it needs. You may have to prepare the soil by adding particular fertilisers or organic matter to get it into optimal health before planting. Use mulch to prevent water running off and drying out your soil.
If in doubt about any of these tips, or if you need more information, pop by the Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre and have a chat to one of our friendly gardeners.
How To Create Your Own Stress-Free Garden At Home
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If you are looking for a quiet place to escape from the world at the end of the day, look no further than your own garden. This is a place where you can invite the birds and the bees to take up residence by planting accordingly, as well as possibly creating a food source for yourself, and somewhere that you can relax and unwind. Making it a stress-free experience will have a lot to do with your planning and preparation, as well as how you choose to work with the space.
Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is to work out exactly what your expectations are of your garden and prepare it accordingly. If you want to grow food to eat, you will likely design the garden differently from how you would if you want simply to have somewhere to sit and relax with a good book. Your plan will assist you in working out what sort of plants you want to get, as well as where you are going to plant them. The most stress-free way of growing food plants is to companion plant, that is, plants that complement each other, which keeps pests down, utilises the space well and assists your plants to be happy and healthy.
Preparation is Key
Organising all aspects of your garden will help immensely in keeping the place as stress-free as possible, because you will know where everything is, and be able to find it easily when you need it. Create a board for your tools to hang and organise your seeds so that you know what is what and where to find them when you want to use them. Prepare the soil to accommodate the plants that you are choosing for your garden, and plant them in places that are conducive to them surviving.
Make Plant Tags
Part of being a happy gardener is having the knowledge of what you have growing in your garden. Research your plants and learn all about what they like. Make sure that your plants have tags so that you can easily identify them later. Often when we are planting our seedlings into the ground we imagine that we will remember what they are, but sometimes things can get mixed up and we may forget.
Choose Appropriate Plants
For stress-free gardening, you need to plant items that are going to be happy where you are planting them. Putting a plant or vegetable that likes the shade in full sun is not going to lead to stress-free gardening because if your plants are not happy you won’t be happy either. Ensure that the plants you are choosing are going to thrive in your garden and deliver the results that you are seeking. If you aren’t sure about a particular plant or need more information about complementary planting come and talk to our gardeners at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.
Sustainable Gardening Tips You Should Know
Written by Michael
‘Sustainable’ – it’s the newest buzz word, but what does it mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines sustainable as ‘being able to be maintained at a certain rate or level’. When it comes to gardening, this relates to the methods that you choose to use in your garden. One of the key ideas that is encompassed in sustainable gardening is that the focus is on natural methods of production. Sustainability involves looking at the big picture, and employing forward thinking. It is about preserving natural resources and protecting them from any harm that may be caused by your choices and actions, either now, or in the future.
Keep Your Garden Chemically Clean
With the idea of preserving natural resources for the future in mind, the use of chemicals in your gardening would not be a sustainable practice, because chemicals alter the eco system dramatically, affecting it in all areas. Chemicals do not only kill the nasties, but they also destroy the goodies too, and are somewhat akin to napalm for your garden. Even if you used them in one particular area with a mind to ‘keeping them away from the vegetables’, there is a likelihood of possible contamination into all other areas.
Compost, Compost, Compost
Composting is one of the best practices you can use in terms of sustainable gardening, because it encompasses everything that sustainability is about. It both recycles your garden waste, and enriches the soil. Using it in your garden also means that it is not joining the tonnes of other stuff that contributes to landfill in your community, so in the long term you are benefitting your family as well. Composting techniques can include raking the dead leaves and using them on garden beds, to using a composting system or growing a worm farm. It reduces waste and produces strong, vibrant plants and vegetables.
Take Care of Business
The topic of using chemicals and compost leads us to the important topic of taking care of business in your garden. Many a person has had the exciting idea of growing their own vegetables and spent their money to create a garden, but then do not maintain it. Being in your garden and spending time watering, weeding, pruning, composting, turning the soil over and doing what needs to be done will not only maximise your garden’s productivity but it will be beneficial to you as well.
Choose Appropriate Plants
Another important tip for sustainable gardening is to choose native plants and plants that are appropriate for the climate that you are living in. Different plants need different conditions to survive and thrive. If you are living in a warm climate, choosing plants that like cold temperatures is not going to be a wise decision. For more information about plants that are suited to your local area, talk to one of our plant whisperers at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.
Landscaping Tips: Which Is Better? Cultivars Vs Varieties
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‘Cultivar’ and ‘Variety’ are two terms used by gardeners and horticulturalists that form a part of the scientific name of a plant that describes its characteristics. Asking which is better out of cultivars and varieties is a difficult question to answer, as they each have differing characteristics, which may or may not be suited to the gardener or landscaper who is using the plant.
In terms of how often they are used, and which is used more by landscapers today, some horticulturalists believe that there are more cultivars being planted than varieties but this cannot be easily verified. Additionally, when it comes to the naming of plants, sometimes gardeners and horticulturalists can be lazy in how they write this information, so this can be even more confusing. The best way we can assist you in answering this question is to provide an overview of each type, and perhaps you will be able to make a decision for yourself as to which you feel is better for your garden.
The word ‘cultivar’ is a shortened term for a cultivated variety, which is a plant that has not been propagated by seed, but rather through human intervention such as via stem cuttings. The offspring of a cultivar will maintain the characteristics of the parent plant for only one generation. This means that the seeds from this plant are not guaranteed to have the same characteristics of the plant from which they came.
An example of this is if the cultivar has a particular colour of flower that is sought by the landscaper. Rather than being able to save seeds from the plant at the end of the season, the landscaper would need to buy a new plant as the seeds that the current plant produces would not be guaranteed to produce offspring with the same characteristics as its parent plant. The advantage of using cultivars is that you may find plants with characteristics that are desirable, such as a particular colour of flower or aroma, which you would not find in a variety.
The word ‘variety’, which is often abbreviated as ‘var’, refers to plants that grow and reproduce naturally. The seeds of these plants are more likely to produce offspring that have the same characteristics as their parent plant, for example, if the parent variety had purple flowers, the seeds that are produced from the plant will most likely have the same. Because cultivated varieties are patented by the plant developer, they might cost a bit more than varieties that grow and reproduce naturally, which makes varieties often cheaper to buy.
For more information about the different types of plants that we have at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre, come in and talk to one of our experienced gardeners.