Oak – Smells Like Vinegar, Not Slime Flux
Q: I live in the northwest. Yesterday I had some oak firewood delivered and it had an extremely strong vinegar smell. I found your description of the acidic flux scent on the internet and I am very sure that it is correct.
1. Will the bacteria die?
2. Will rain help keep the bacteria alive if the wood isn’t covered?
3. Will summer heat cause the smell to get stronger, as when sap gets warm it smells?
4. And finally, do you see any health problems associated with having this wood on my property, either to surrounding trees or to humans or to pets?
A: I don’t believe you have anything to worry about.
It’s true that oaks in the red oak family (which includes black oak) smell strongly of vinegar after they are freshly cut. The smell has no connection to slime flux, it’s just their characteristic odor. It will go away when the wood dries out.