Wood is not just an material for making furniture and building components, but you can also burn it to get heat or make delicious foods with the tinge of smoky flavor. However, each wood has different properties and burning rate, so you have to choose it carefully. This article will highlight the best trees for firewood. At the same time, we will also discuss inferior wood that smokes while burning or that leaves ash that sticks to the hood due to resin.
Types of Firewood
Identifying types of firewood is essential to select the right wood. The best wood is the one that burns well and consistently produces heat, such as ash and oak. Generally, fruit trees have hardwood that burns for long and provides consistent heat. Hardwood is clean and easy to handle, but it is often expensive. Moreover, the hard residue accumulates in the stove or ash.
Some people also use softwood as firewood like cedar or pine, but they don’t burn well. However, softwood is cheaper than the hardwood. Fir is the most common wood people use as firewood. Unlike hardwood, softwood burns faster and creates fine ash. But some softwoods like balsam and pine or spruce can create creosote in the hood or chimney.
Let’s explore the best trees for firewood:
The American beech tree has a very dense wood, and it resists splitting, so it is clean for burning. American beech produces substantial heat when you burn it. People also use it to make charcoal and sell it at reasonable rates.
You need less wood for cooking due to high heat. You can heat off your house with a small amount of American beech firewood. Contractors also use beach flooring due to its durability. Besides, many companies make plywood with American beech.
Beech is slightly harder than the oak, but oak wood is more stable. According to research, you can cook with beech wood without any issue. Likewise, pine, ash, oak, and other woods don’t have any harmful contents, so you can also cook with these woods.
Apple wood is a hardwood, but you will have to season it to make firewood. It does not burn fast but gives good heat. Apple firewood also causes a nice fragrance, but it also creates sparks.
We already said that hardwood is ideal as firewood, so ash is among the best trees for firewood. Ash burns for a long time and produces high heat. It is ideal for cold regions where the temperature is too low. Moisture cannot affect the ash wood like other woods, and it still burns, so it is also suitable during humidity.
Yellow birch is also good to burn because it produces practicable heat. However, it won’t be effective without proper seasoning. Some kinds of birch release sap that can mess up the fireplace, but yellow birch is good. You can also burn birch wood to cook food in your farmhouse or out in the forest.
Hickory, especially the shagbark, is among the best trees for firewood. Hickory has minimum moisture, and it can burn for several hours. You can have a lot of heat with it. Even you will find hickory better than other hardwoods like oak and maple.
Another ideal wood that produces more heat is maple. It burns slow, so you will get heat for many hours. While selecting the maple firewood, go for sugar maple because it releases less smoke. Sugar maple does not create sparks, so the chances of accidents are less.
You can use maple wood to warm up the room or can burn it for a barbeque. You can also use this wood during camping.
Red and White Oak
Two types of oaks are common as firewood, including red oak and white oak. Red oak is the best, provided you season it enough. Red oak has a slow-burning rate; hence, it will give heat for long. White oak is slightly behind red oak; however, it burns well, and both are the best trees for firewood.
If cherry is available, don’t miss it as it can burn for a long time. Moreover, cherry increases room temperature faster. However, it can split after burning, so the sap may stick to the fireplace. Cherry is suitable for short term use like during camping or bonfire, etc.
On the other hand, you will have to maintain the stove if you frequently use cherry firewood.
Cedar is a common tree, and its wood is ideal for firewood. You can also use cedar firewood in a stove, like for outdoor cooking. Remember that cedar often splits while burning; hence, the sap can accumulate in the fireplace. Cedar is suitable for occasional use as you will have to maintain the fireplace with its frequent use.
Elm tree produces durable wood; however, the wood should be dry before you burn it. Elm has moisture, and you need at least two years to season it for firewood. It will give good heat after seasoning, and you can enjoy a cozy room. Elm is also suitable for cooking or grilling.
Consider locust Suitable for firewood. Black locust is mostly among the best trees for firewood because its flame can burn for many hours. Its consistent burning keeps you warm, and your home will become comfortable during winter. You can also use locust firewood for cooking delicious food while camping or hiking, and other outdoor activities.
What about Poplar Tree?
Poplar has thin branches and trunk, so you will not get dense logs. You can use it in a moderate season. Popular firewood produces good heat, but it does not burn for a long time. You can also use popular with other firewood, like for large fireplaces or big outdoor events.
Walnut wood has medium-density; hence, you don’t need much time to burn it. Moreover, walnut is a clean wood with a nice aroma and produces good heat. The best trees for firewood include walnut, but it’s useful when the temperature is not too low. Many companies make furniture with walnut wood.
Identifying trees for firewood is essential. A sycamore tree is not so common, but it can be good firewood if you dry it well. So, make sure to season this wood because it burns faster and gives good heat. You can also use it while camping, hiking, bonfire, or for an outdoor restaurant.
What is A Well-Seasoned Firewood?
Wood must be dry before you burn it, and the drying process is called seasoning. Make sure that the firewood has minimum moisture. If the wood does not pass through seasoning, it will cause steam due to moisture.
You can recognize a well-seasoned wood from its dark ends and cracks. Moreover, dry wood is always lightweight and clinks when two logs strike.
Moisture Rate of Firewood
Generally, wood has 25% moisture or even more, and that means the wood is wet. Wood with moisture does not burn or causes smoke while burning. Especially, the fresh logs or tree branches have 50% moisture even if they seem dry. Even a well-seasoned wood has moisture, but it is below 25%, so use this kind of wood in your fireplace.
Understanding the Firewood’s Heat Value
When you burn wood, it produces a certain amount of heat, depending on its type and seasoning. Some woods produce high heat, some cause medium heat, and some have a low heat value.
High Heat Level
The high heat level of the firewood is similar to burning of 200 to 250 gallons of fuel. So imagine how much fuel you can save with suitable and well-seasoned firewood. Such heat level can keep the living room or bedroom warm for a whole day and night.
Medium Heat Level
Medium heat of wood is similar to burning of 150 to 200 gallons of oil. Firewood with medium heat is suitable for areas where the temperature is not too low in winter. Such woods are not so dense nor thin.
Low Heat Level
This level is suitable for early winters or autumn when you don’t need much heat. It is similar to burning of 100 to 150 gallons of oil. You can also use it for grilling food during a party or camping and other outdoor events.
What Is Not Good For Firewood?
You have to avoid certain woods because they are not safe for you and your home. Some woods can cause harmful fumes; besides, the hood emissions can pollute the surroundings. Whereas, some woods create resins that can destroy the stove or a metal fireplace.
Try not to use the below products for burning
- A wood with varnish or paint because it will cause fumes and might even burst.
- Avoid the pressure-treated logs.
- Avoid a driftwood
- Don’t use MDF, plywood, or processed wood like chipboard.
- Avoid burning compressed papers and hardboards.
- Avoid allergy-causing woods.
Precautions While Burning a Firewood
- Select the wood that can easily burn, and don’t use any paper to ignite the fire. Likewise, avoid putting oil over wood as most people do it to enhance burning.
- Both paper and oil can mess up the room or stove and fireplace.
- Put a fire-resistant mat on the floor to protect the tiles. You must have a smoke detecting alarm; otherwise, no one will know in case your house has caught fire.
- Keep kids away from fire.
- Sit a little away from the fireplace, or your clothes may catch fire; especially, nylon and wool as they are highly susceptible to fire.
- Avoid putting a woolen rug near a fireplace.
Which Tree Is Not Good For Firewood?
You must understand the importance of the best trees for firewood. Some trees are not so ideal for burning, or they need a prolonged seasoning. Like pine, chestnut, Douglas fir, and spruce. Let’s explore them below:
- Pine contains resin and sap to a great extent and it can create a mess. You can use pine for kindling instead of getting heat. It has a good smell, and you can use it to enhance the air inside your house.
- Chestnut is not suitable for firewood because it gives a small flame and produces less heat. You cannot burn low heat woods during chilly weather, so avoid cutting a chestnut tree for firewood.
- Douglas fir is a softwood, and it does not give a big flame and produces less heat. It is good for occasional heating or cooking. The regular use of Douglas fir can produce emissions that then gather in the fireplace.
- Spruce is a thin wood, and people use it as firewood, but it produces less heat. It is not suitable for chilly weather; however, you can burn it in the less intense weather.
Are Dead Trees Good for Firewood?
Many people use dead trees as they are remarkably dry enough for burning. However, standing trees are better compared to the fallen trees because they are not dry enough.
Firewood or Gas and Electric Heaters
We have covered the firewood best to worst in the above section. Now, we will see if firewood is better than the gas and electric heaters.
You know that wood is a natural element; that’s why you feel good around the trees and firewood. Though a huge variety of gas and the electric heaters is available, many people still prefer firewood.
- Firewood can heat a place faster than the gas or electric heater, provided you choose the right firewood.
- Firewood helps you save money because gas and electricity are expensive.
- Firewood is easily available in remote areas where power shortage is a common issue. Hence, you don’t have to depend on an electric heater.
- The fireplace with wood becomes a good part of your home interior.
- Firewood is ideal for areas with minus temperature because a well-seasoned wood burns faster and produces high heat.
The above discussion on the best trees for firewood will help you buy the right product. However, firewood’s drawback is that you cannot control the heat that you can do in heaters. Be it a gas or electric heater; you can increase or decrease the heat level as you want. Moreover, firewood is not ideal for cities or areas with moderate temperatures, but you can use it for outdoor cooking.