Look at the 5th picture down on this website. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/sassafrass.html?m=1
It shows a picture of young growth which is very green. I didn’t get a picture of this today but I looked at the branch tips in the brush pile we made and it looked exactly like this. So I’m content in calling this Sassafras. If I get a chance this weekend I’ll cut a piece up and turn it on the lathe to get better look at its grain. Sassafras is pretty common here. I’ve got a couple of them on my property. I’ve picked leaves off of it and let my daughter smell them. Really interesting smell. I tried smelling the cut wood but I really couldn’t smell anything. I don’t know if the wood itself smells or just the leaves.
If you snap the young branches they smell soapy. If scratch the roots you’re going to smell rootbeer. I thought it was sassafrass right away but I thought the crotched log looked like white oak.
Alder is also what I use to smoke Salmon. Brady
Makes a nice smoke- do you ever use cottonwood? It’s good for fish and fowl also.
I don’t smoke much, but enjoy it when others do!
Cottonwood.That’s the first time I’ve heard of it used for smoking.There is quite a bit around.I’ll try that sometime.Thanks,Brady
Cherry is so easy to identify by the smell, as is oak and sassafras. Cherry has that strychnine smell and Sas like rootbeer- oak has a high tannin smell. All I saw looked like cherry in the truck, more based on the wood than the bark, although the bark added some evidence, but a photo is not the same as seeing.
That’s what I would consider the tell-tale sign of mature sassafras apart from leaves. (I’ve never smelled the roots or noticed any smell to the wood.)
I have a lot of sassafras. I also heat with an outdoor wood stove and cut 25 trailer loads a year of various wood. The stands of sassafras are usually clumped together. Their roots intermingle a lot and sucker up to grow more trees. Sometimes I’m just working with the ground digging and the sand will smell really strong like rootbeer. There will also be a sassafras tree near by. I wouldn’t even have to bee in the roots. I cut a couple down when making my orchard and they suckered up all over the ground for about a forty foot circle. I just kept mowing them over but where I put my deer fence they kept growing. Once a year I have to hand snip them. They have been hard to get rid of. Over the years of cutting it I have noticed a lot of the trees have rotted heartwood. Some of the trees have been hollowed out by squirrels or woodpeckers. It’s a very light wood that burns hot and fast. It’s my go to wood for starting fires. Just grab a lower dead branch and break it into a small pile and it fires right up with one match even after it rained.
I’ll hop on the Sassafras train. Thanks for the lesson @Johnnysapples as well as all contributors. Matt, we gave it a shot.
If it’s Sassafras, those are some huge specimens. They are slow growing. Beautiful trees, though, in all seasons. The autumn foliage is spectacular. The roots can be steeped into a tasty tea, but don’t drink too much. It can become toxic.