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Home » Firewood Guide » Firewood Guide

Firewood Guide

woodIs that tree you just felled suitable for burning on your open fire or wood stove?

Here’s a guide to some of the more common species of firewood timber found in the UK. See our log splitting guide for preparing firewood.

Remember, always prepare and split firewood as soon as possible after felling. Some species are very difficult to split once they have dried out. The sooner you split the timber, the faster the logs will season. Do try to avoid rotten wood - it tends to smoulder on the fire rather than burn.

Ash

Probably the finest firewood available in the UK. Easy to saw and split. Ash has a naturally low moisture content so it seasons quickly and burns beautifully. Ash can even be burnt green.

Oak

It’s important to let oak season for at least a year or more to get the best firewood. It burns slowly and produces masses of heat. One of our hardest woods. Holme oak (evergreen oak) also makes a good firewood.

Fruit woods

Fruit woods -apple, cherry and pear - are excellent for the fire, they burn slowly and produce plenty of heat.

Hawthorn

Large logs of Hawthorn are rare, but a fantastic firewood if you can get it. Burns slowly and very hot.

Holly

A hard, slow burning timber which makes for a good fire.

Beech

Like Hornbeam, Beech is a clean, straight grained wood and will give a good fire.

Sycamore

One of the most frequently felled trees as it self seeds vigorously and is considered a nuisance in some areas. The wood is perfectly suitable for burning and is often sold by log merchants mixed in with Ash.

Birch

A good timber for burning, but does burn more quickly than most other species.

Hazel

An excellent firewood but will spark occasionally. Especially good for kindling and smaller logs.

Elm

Acceptable firewood but not great. Best mixed in with other, better species such as Ash. Because of Dutch Elm disease most elm is dead prior to being felled so it is often hard to split with a maul.

Rowan

Also called mountain ash (but unrelated to the common ash) this tree produces a decent firewood.

Bay

A fast growing tree that produces an acceptable firewood. It does not produce much flame or a great deal of heat so is best mixed with a better burning species. The bark can spit and spark for a few seconds when it first goes on the fire.

Willow

High moisture content so needs plenty of time to season properly. Like poplar, willow burns quite quickly and is best avoided.

Conifers, Pine, Spruce, Lleylandii

coniferThese timbers do tend to spit and spark so they are best avoided or reserved for a wood burning stove mixed in with other species. If you do decide to burn these timbers on an open fire, always use a fire screen and leave the wood to season for as long as possible after splitting. These resinous timbers will also produce more soot in your chimney.

Storing firewood

For quick seasoning, pile the logs outside on an old pallet so it’s raised off the ground and cover it with a tarpaulin during the wetter months. Leave the pile uncovered during spring and summer to allow airflow amongst the timber to assist with the seasoning. An ideal place for storing seasoned firewood is a dry outbuilding or shed

If you do store your firewood outside, take care when moving the logs as frogs and toads have a habit of making their winter homes amongst the dark crevices!