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types of firewood

Thought this could be useful information to have "stickied" for those of us using wood for fuel.

Types of firewood.

Alder: Opinion varies, works best well seasoned.
Apple: Splendid/ It bums slowly and steadily when dry, with little flame, but good heat. Good scent. Must season well
Ash: Best burning wood; has both flame and heat, and will burn when green, as it has a low moisture content. Will burn even better dry.
Beech: Best when well seasoned
Birch: The heat is good but it burns quickly with a bright flame. Nice smell, works well when mixed with other woods that burn more slowly.
Cedar: Good when dry. It gives little flame but much heat, and the scent is beautiful.
Cherry: Burns slowly, with good heat. Another wood with the advantage of scent and does not spit.
Chestnut: Mediocre. Apt to shoot embers. Small flame and heating power.??
Cypress: Burns well but fast when seasoned, and may spit
Douglas Fir: Poor. Little flame or heat.
Elder: Mediocre. Very smoky. Quick burner, with not much heat.
Elm: To bum well it needs to be kept for two years. Even then it will smoke.Very high water content more water than wood.
Hawthorne: burns well
Hazel: Good, burns fast without spitting. but has other uses, so you might not want to burn it
Holly: Good, will burn when green, but best when kept a season.
Hornbeam: Good, burns well
Horse Chestnut: Good flame and heating power but spits a lot.
Laburnum: Totally poisonous tree, acrid smoke, taints food and best never used.
Larch: Crackles and spits, scented, and fairly good for heat. Oily soot in chimneys
Laurel: Has brilliant flame.
Lime: Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Maple: Good.
Oak: Dry oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily with a good heat. Seasoned for 2 - 3 years is best.
Pear: Slow and steady, good heat and a good scent.
Pine: Bums with a splendid flame, but apt to spit. Needs to be well seasoned. Gives off a large number of resins.
Plane: Burns pleasantly, but is apt to throw sparks if very dry.
Plum: Good heat and scent.
Poplar: Burns slowly with little heat better for making matchsticks
Rhododendron: The thick old stems, being very tough, burn well.
Robinia (Acacia): Burns slowly, with good heat, but with acrid smoke.
Rowan: Burns well
Spruce: Burns too quickly and with too many sparks.
Sweet chestnut: burns well when seasoned but sends out sparks. Only for use in a stove with door closed!
Sycamore: Burns with a good flame, with moderate heat. Useless green.
Walnut: Good, and so is the scent. Aromatic wood.
Willow: Poor. It must be dry to use, and then it burns slowly, with little flame. Apt to spark.
Yew: Last but among the best. Burns slowly, with fierce heat, and the scent is pleasant.

I found it on's site. I'm sure it is in many other places, but good to have this all together

Very useful. Thanks,

ranked in this chart

and from the same site, in rhyme

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for long 'tis laid away.
But Ash new or Ash old
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.
Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E ' en the very flames are cold.
But Ash green or Ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs, if dry and old.
Keep away the winter's cold.
But Ash wet or Ash dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.

blackthorn is hot and slow burning when dry ,makes a good charcoal bed in a burner,up to about 100mm diameter burn without splitting first in a hot burner,nice fuel

leylandii is hot and flameful if dry ,sparks a bit and being low density needs feeding in regularly

offcuts of laminated wood burn well but the smoke is rather toxic and gunks the chimney

softwood construction offcuts and pallet wood can be calorific and fast but spit a lot,beware timber treatments will give toxic smoke

tyres are hot but smelly (most plastics will burn but each needs a different fire lay,some are very toxic)for emergencies only imho

fat and bones can make a warm fire but again it is a bit smelly

books (even jeffrey archer has a purpose)are quite good in a stove (so are shoes if you dont need to worry about the fumes)

if collecting to burn now dead standing is best so harvest from the tree not the ground
Mistress Rose

You can speed up seasoning by cutting and splitting the wood and then stacking, ideally in a wood store with through draught but no rain coming through, or if all else fails, with a cover over the top only.

Birch is better seasoned split or with a part of the bark cut away along the length otherwise it rots and seasons at the same time.

We had very satisfactory fires with sweet chestnut, but we did season it for several years.
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