What You Need to Know About Green Wood

We all know going green is important for environmental conservation and future prosperity. But when it comes to pallets, “green” wood is not what you think it is.

close-up of wood

Green wood refers to wood that has recently been cut from a living tree and has not undergone a drying or seasoning process. When a tree is freshly cut, the wood still contains a significant amount of moisture, typically around 30-50% water content, depending on species, location, and time of year when harvested.

Green vs. Dried

Green wood is soft and pliable. It is best used for applications such as woodworking, crafts, and traditional log cabin construction.

As wood dries and loses moisture, it undergoes changes in its physical properties, becoming stronger, more rigid, and less prone to shrinking or warping. That is why properly dried wood is the best choice for pallets which bear heavy loads.

Two methods to dry green wood are air drying and kiln drying. Air drying requires a lot of time—typically several months to a few years. Kiln drying, on the other hand, speeds up the drying process by using commercial kilns to heat and dehumidify the wood. However, it can still take several weeks, depending on the wood species and thickness. Wood is considered “dry” when it reaches 19% or less moisture content. Wood used indoors will eventually stabilize at 8-14% moisture content; outdoors at 12-18%.

Not only is dry wood stronger and more stable than green wood, but it is also lighter than green wood because much of the water weight has been removed during the seasoning process. And lighter pallets are more cost-effective to transport and handle.

While dry wood is preferred for making pallets, it’s essential to strike a balance between moisture content and cost-effectiveness. Over drying the wood may lead to excessive cracking or brittleness, while under-dried wood could cause warping and instability. Wood with a moisture content of around 6% to 12% is generally considered suitable for pallet construction.

In the market for pallets?

Our pallets are made from properly seasoned wood to ensure the highest quality and performance. Contact the pros at Rose Pallet for a complimentary quote.

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