Looking for differences in wood properties as a function of the felling date: lunar phase-correlated variations in the drying behavior of Norway Spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.)
A large-scale field experiment on the drying behavior of Norway Spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) in relation to the felling date was conducted over a period of 24 weeks in order to investigate the existence of variations linked to lunar rhythms, which are mentioned as having a role in many traditional forestry practices. The measured criteria were the water loss from fresh to dry state, the shrinkage linked to this water loss, and the relative density (ratio between the dry density and the initial fresh density) for both sapwood and heartwood in Picea and heartwood in Castanea. In addition to seasonal trends, slight but significant variations with lunar periodicities (both synodic and sidereal; to a much lesser extent tropic) characterize the three investigated criteria. These lunar rhythmicities occur in both Picea and Castanea, in heartwood and sapwood. These results raise new questions and perspectives about a rhythmic character of the wood-water relation.