Is This Stack of Cherry Ruined?

A newbie mistake left this stack of Cherry wood soaked after a year in the stack. But there's a chance it could still be saved. October 26, 2007

I had the opportunity to get a large cherry tree from my own property sawn into lumber. I had never dealt with green lumber before, so I read as much as I could to learn the basics. I carefully stacked and stickered about 250 bd ft under my deck and covered the pile with a plastic tarp to keep any water off. After 15 months I opened the pile and found that it was completely soaked! Besides being much wetter than when I started, much of the wood is heavily discolored and has mold and other fungus actively growing on it. Can this lumber be saved or is it just expensive firewood?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
From what you say, I would guess that you need to write it off as the cost of an education in air drying lumber.

From contributor L:
Before totally writing it off, I would take it out from under the deck and restack it where it can get some air flow. Cover just the top to keep it from getting wet again and let it dry. You will probably have a lot of loss still, but you may be able to salvage some spalted pieces. It won't cost you anything extra other than a little labor. What do you have to lose?

From contributor D:
And even firewood needs to be dry.

From contributor B:
It will be important to get good air flow through your wood or get it kiln dried as soon as possible. I am pretty sure your wood is not ruined. The last thing I would do is turn it into firewood. Three things you must consider in drying wood: airflow, humidity, and temperature.

From contributor S:
Never ever cover your green wood with a tarp or plastic. All the moisture you were trying to get rid of was trapped! Cover only the top with tin, preferably, and leave the sides open to the air. It might be worth saving for a shed or such.

From contributor T:
You won't know until it is dry and you run it through the planer. Cherry is a very forgiving wood. Some of the most warped, weathered boards end up with the nicest colors and grain.