What Are Good Trees for Firewood?

There are more than 60,000 known species of trees in the world, according to a study conducted by the Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). While all trees are classified as a woody perennial plant that grows taller from a single trunk or stem, they each have their own unique characteristics. As a result, some trees make better firewood than others. If you're planning to buy or harvest firewood in the near future, you should familiarize yourself with some of the top trees for firewood.

Oak Firewood

Oak is one of the most popular types of trees used for firewood. A type of hardwood, oak trees produce fruit known as acorns. Each acorn contains a single seed that's used for reproduction. So, why is oak such a popular type of firewood? There are a few reasons for its popularity, one of which its availability. North America houses the largest concentration of native oak trees. According to Wikipedia, roughly 90 species of oak grow natively in the United States. Whether you live on the East or West Coast -- or somewhere in the middle -- you shouldn't have trouble finding oak firewood to burn.

Because it's a hardwood, oak firewood is also easy to light and burns hot. Most hardwoods, including oak, are denser than softwoods. And with a higher density, they burn hotter and longer than their softwood counterparts. Density refers to the actual amount of matter within the wood. Dense wood contains more matter, so it burns longer than less-dense wood. You can easily build a fire in your fireplace, fire pit or stove using oak wood thanks to these characteristics.

Hickory Firewood

Hickory trees also make excellent firewood. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hickory isn't the strongest type of wood, but it offers a unique combination of strength, hardness and stiffness that's not found in any other commercially sold wood. This is why hickory is often used to manufacture high-end furniture. The unique combination of these properties allows for a versatile wood product that's not achieved using other types of trees. Hickory, however, is an equally amazing type of firewood. It burns hot, clean and bright.

In addition to burning hickory for heat, you can use it to cook meats and other foods. Hickory has a high energy content, so it won't go out in the middle of your grilling barbecue. Furthermore, many people prefer using hickory to smoke cured meats because of its unique flavor. As hickory burns, it releases just enough smoke to introduce a mild yet delicious flavor into your food.

Kiln-Dried Firewood

Maple Firewood

Maple is often harvested specifically for use as firewood. Also a hardwood, maple is a moderately tall tree that grows to heights of 33 to 150 feet when fully mature. There are about 120 species of maple known throughout the world. Most, however, grow natively in Asia, making it a relatively expensive choice of firewood when purchased in the United States. If you're willing to spend the money, though, you'll find that it's an excellent source of fuel for your fire. Maple firewood burns hot, produces minimal smoke, and creates a pleasant aroma.

Maple firewood is particularly great for cooking, as it adds a mildly sweet flavor to meats and foods. It's not an overbearing sweetness. Rather, it's just enough to compliment certain foods like steaks, chicken, fish or pork ribs.

Cherry Firewood

You can't go wrong using cherry firewood, either. Harvested from the cherry-bearing tree, it's often used to make furniture because of its unique cherry-like color. But like most other hardwoods, cherry is also a versatile and effective type of firewood. You can easily light cherry firewood -- assuming it's been seasoned or kiln-dried -- using nothing more than a match or natural fire starter. Once lit, cherry firewood will continue to burn while producing a moderate to high amount of heat. This makes it a popular choice among homeowners looking to warm their home during the winter.

Closing Thoughts

These are just a few of the best trees for firewood. Whether you use oak, hickory, maple, cherry or any other variety, it's important to remember that dry, seasoned firewood burns better than green, unseasoned firewood. When firewood is still green, it contains too much moisture to burn efficiently, resulting in low heat, increased difficulty of lighting and excess smoke production. To prevent these issues with your next fire, only burn seasoned or kiln-dried firewood with a moisture content of 20% or less. You'll have an easier time starting and keeping your fire lit using dry wood, regardless of the specific variety.

Building the perfect fire begins with using the right firewood. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a large selection of premium firewood and cooking wood, which you can order from our online store.

About The Author

Leroy Hite

Leroy Hite is the founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, an ultra-premium firewood and cooking wood company located in Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy's mission is to give people the experience of the perfect fire because some of life’s best memories are made in the warmth of a fire’s glow. He founded Cutting Edge Firewood in 2013 with a goal to provide unmatched quality wood and unparalleled customer service nationwide. The company offers premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood, and pizza wood in a wide variety of species and cuts to customers around the country.