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The AIE Firewood Burning Guide

 


Common Name Botanical Name Comments

Alder Alnus A low quality firewood.   Grade: 1

Apple Malus Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without sparking/spitting. Grade: 3

Ash Fraxinus Considered to be one of the best woods for firewood. It has a low water content (approx. 50%) and can be split very easily with an axe. It can be burned green but like all wood is best when seasoned. Burns at a steady rate and not too fast. Grade: 4

Beech Fagus Beech has a high water content (approx. 90%) so only burns well when seasoned well. Not as good as Oak.  Grade: 3

Birch Betula Birch is an excellent firewood and will burn unseasoned. However, it does burn very fast so is best mixed with slower burning wood such as Elm or Oak.  Grade: 3-4

Cedar Cedrus A good firewood which burns well with a pleasant smell. Gives off a good, lasting heat. Doesn't spit too much and small pieces can be burned unseasoned.   Grade: 2

Cherry Prunus Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting.  Grade: 2-3

Elm Ulmus A good firewood but due to its high water content of approximately 140% (more water than wood!) it must be seasoned very well. It may need assistance from another faster burning wood such as Birch to keep it burning well. However it gives off a good, lasting heat and burns very slowly. Dutch Elm Disease is producing a constant & plentiful supply of small dead hedgerow Elm trees of a small diameter. Larger pieces of wood will prove difficult to split.  Grade: 2-3

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Allow to season well since the wood is very wet (sappy) when fresh. Can be difficult to split due to stringy wood fibre. Best method is to slice into rings and allow to season during the summer, the rings will start to split themselves. Burns fast with a pleasant smell and without spitting.  Grade: 2-3

Hawthorn Crataegus Good firewood. Burns well.   Grade: 3-4

Hazel Corylus Excellent firewood. Allow to season. Burns fast but without spitting.   Grade: 4

Holly Ilex Can be burnt green. A good firewood.   Grade: 3

Hornbeam Carpinus Good firewood. Burns well.   Grade: 3

Horse Chestnut Aesculus A low quality firewood.   Grade: 2

Larch Larix Needs to be seasoned well. Spits excessively while it burns and forms an oily soot within chimney's.  Grade: 1

Lime Tilia A low quality firewood.   Grade: 2

Oak Quercus One of the best firewood's. When seasoned well, it gives off a good, lasting heat. Burns reasonably slowly.  Grade: 4

Pear Pyrus Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting.  Grade: 3

Pine Pinus Needs to be seasoned well. Spits while it burns and forms an oily soot within chimney's.  Grade: 1

Plane Platanus A usable firewood.   Grade: 3

Poplar Populus Poplar burns well and slowly when properly seasoned.   Grade: 2

Rowan Sorbus aucuparia Good firewood. Burns well.   Grade: 3

Spruce Picea A low quality firewood.   Grade: 2

Sweet Chestnut Castanea Burns  when seasoned but spits continuously and excessively. Not for use on an open fire and make sure wood-burning stoves have a good door catch!   Grade: 1-2

Sycamore (Maples) Acer pseudoplatanus Good firewood. Burns well.   Grade: 3

Walnut Juglans A low quality firewood.   Grade: 2

Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron Poor for use as a firewood.  Grade: 1

Willow Salix Willow has a high water content so only burns well when seasoned well.   Grade: 2

Yew Taxus A usable firewood.   Grade: 2-3

I welcome any further information you may have to offer regarding the burning of wood. If I have made a mistake or perhaps omitted something please send details.


A Popular Firewood "ditty".  [Source & Date unknown].

Logs to Burn,

Logs to burn,

Logs to burn,

Logs to save the coal a turn,

Here's a word to make you wise,

When you hear the woodman's cries.

Never heed his usual tale,

That he has good logs for sale,

But read these lines and really learn,

The proper kind of logs to burn.

Oak logs will warm you well,

If they're old and dry.

Larch logs of pine will smell,

But the sparks will fly.

Beech logs for Christmas time,

Yew logs heat well.

"Scotch" logs it is a crime,

For anyone to sell.

Birch logs will burn too fast,

Chestnut scarce at all.

Hawthorn logs are good to last,

If you cut them in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax,

You should burn them green,

Elm logs like smouldering flax,

No flame to be seen.

Pear logs and apple logs,

They will scent your room,

Cherry logs across the dogs,

Smell like flowers in bloom.

But ash logs,

all smooth and grey,

Burn them green or old;

Buy up all that come your way,

They're worth their weight in gold.

Link back to AIE Firewood.


2000 Chris Skellern. AIE.    Home  | News | A-Z Index  | Resources  |  Contact AIE  |  Terms of Use