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The Best & Worst Trees For Firewood

The Best & Worst Trees For Firewood

Nothing makes you feel as warm and cozy as a roaring fire on a cold winter day. The sights and smell of a wood fire burning in the fireplace can create hours of enjoyment, and an ever-changing display of hypnotizing patterns that leave you and your family warm and happy.

But to create a real wood fire, you’ll need wood to burn in the fireplace. Yes, you can go to the store and invest in a bundle of wood. But that can add up over time.

What about the tree in your backyard you’ve meant to remove? What happens to a tree if you hire for tree removal services? Can you use that wood in your fireplace? Is it the right type of wood to use in your home?

Just as some types of wood are better for certain types of products, the same can be said for building a fire. Some types of wood aren’t suitable for use as firewood. However, with so many different woods available, what is the difference? And what would happen if you burn the wrong type of wood?

In many cases, the best wood to burn is the wood you get for free. That means, if you hire us for tree removal services, why not utilize the wood left over in a way that can heat your home all winter long.

Instead of removing it from your property, find an area around your home where it’s relatively close to moving and storing. If it’s easy to move and store, you’re more likely to use it.

Every species of wood provides different quantities of usable heat when burning. Heating efficiency of firewood depends on how the wood progresses through the three stages of burning.

In the first stage, wood heats to the point where moisture within the wood cells is driven off and the cells dry out. As wood loses moisture, it chemically changes to charcoal. Stopping this process is where charcoal is created.

In the second stage, actual flames burn off the volatile gasses and liquids that are associated with charcoal. This is also where much of the energy of the wood burning process loses efficiency.

In the third stage, the charcoal produces visible, glowing embers. This is called “coaling”. At this point, heat is radiated outward into the air.

Different species of wood burn at different levels. Some produce sparks in the second stage, some produce more smoke than others. The heating potential of the wood depends upon the increased density of the wood. Dense wood is heavier and contains higher heating values.

What kind of tree are you removing from your yard?

Oak
One of the most common types of trees is the oak; you’ll find it throughout the Vancouver area. Although they aren’t one of the tallest trees in your neighborhood, they can still get quite massive if well taken care of throughout the years. Oak is a very dense hardwood tree, so it will burn for a very long time. Getting it started can be the tricky part, though. Because oak is a dense wood, it requires continuous high heat to get it started burning and to keep it burning well. This can be done by using a softwood, such as pine, to get the base going and then add oak onto the fire over time. Once it’s burning, there isn’t much maintenance that must be done to keep it burning long into the night.

Maple
Maple is a deciduous hardwood tree that has above average heating values. It can be a difficult tree to split into manageable size logs but, once it is, it will create efficient and hot burning firewood. Like the oak, it can be difficult to get a fire started using maple. It may require kindle from a softer wood to start the process. But once it’s started and going strong, maple will provide long-lasting warmth and burning. Maple also produces very little smoke, which is a bonus when burning a fire in your home.

Cherry
As a fruit tree, this hardwood also produces relatively little smoke. And when burning, it will produce an aroma that can be very pleasant. However, it doesn’t burn as hot as its oak and maple counterparts. It burns at a medium heat, which makes it desirable on milder evenings when you’re looking at a fire more for ambiance rather than for its heat.

Birch
Birch trees are known for their unique bark, with several different species available. They are a softer wood, which means that they are easier to split and faster to burn. They make perfect fire-starters because they will burn very quickly. Birch is also a very bright and hot wood, one that will be a perfect addition to your fireplace on a cold winter’s evening.

Elm
Elm trees are commonplace throughout the Pacific Northwest and can provide a decent heat source, but it is notorious for being difficult to split. Because of Dutch elm disease, it is also commonplace to see dead elm trees throughout the Vancouver neighborhoods. However, when removing these trees, it is possible to use them as firewood as the wood is very dry.  

Pine
Pine is a popular tree that is found in yards throughout Vancouver. They are also a common tree for removal. Pine is a softwood that makes a great fire-starter. However, pine trees also have high sap and resin content and as such, should only be burned outdoors. If it is used indoors, there is a chance of creosote buildup inside the chimney that can cause a fire. Pine is a very messy burning wood and will burn quickly. While the smell may be great, it should be kept in your outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, using other harder woods as supplements to keep the fire burning late into the evening.

As a general rule, most coniferous or softwood trees – trees that have needles rather than leaves – are not well suited for burning. As the softwood name implies, they tend to have much softer, less dense wood than deciduous trees, meaning they provide less fuel for the fire and don’t produce as much heat. They also create a buildup of creosote while they burn, which becomes a fire hazard over time. They also tend to pop more sparks and smoke, which can aid in starting fires, but can quickly become annoying as you sit back and enjoy the heat being produced.

Do you have trees in your yard that ready for removal? Let us help you decide which to stack up for your winter fires and keep you warm all season long.