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Which Wood Burns Best?

There are a myriad of wood types to choose from, all of which have their own burning qualities and properties however for the most efficient and effective burn in your wood burning stove only very dry wood should be used. Never use green or 'live' wood as this is damaging the environment and produces excess smoke and gases. We have listed below a brief but by no means comprehensive guide.

Alder:  Produces poor heat output and it does not last well.   Poor

Apple:  A very good wood that burns slow and steady when dry, it has small flame size, and does not produce sparking or spitting.    Good

Ash:  Reckoned by many to be one of best woods for burning. It produces a steady flame and good heat output. It can be burnt when green but like all woods, it burns best when dry.   Very Good

Beech:  Burns very much like ash, but does not burn well when green.   Very Good

Birch:  Produces good heat output but it does burn quickly. It can be burnt unseasoned, however the sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.     Good

Blackthorn: Has a slow burn, with good heat production.    Good

Cedar: Is a good burning wood that produces a consistent and long heat output. It burns with a small flame, but does tend to crackle and spit and the sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.    Good

Cherry:  Is a slow to burn wood that produces a good heat output. Cherry needs to be seasoned well.    Good

Chestnut:  A poor burning wood that produces a small flame and poor heat output.    Poor

Douglas Fir:  A poor burning wood that produces a small flame and poor heat output and the sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.    Poor

Elder:  A poor burning wood that produces a small flame and poor heat output.    Poor

Elm:   Is a wood that can follow several burn patterns because of high moisture content, it should be dried for two years for best results. Elm is slow to get going and it may be necessary to use a better burning wood to start it off. Splitting of logs should be done early.     Medium

Eucalyptus:   Is a fast burning wood. The sap can cause deposits to form in the flue and can increase the risk of a chimney fire if burned unseasoned.     Poor

Hawthorn:   Is a good traditional firewood that has a slow burn with good heat output.     Very Good

Hazel:   Is a good but fast burning wood and produces best results when allowed to season.     Good

Holly:   Is a fast burning wood that produces good flame but poor heat output. Holly will burn green, but best dried for a minimum of a year.      Poor

Hornbeam:   A good burning wood that burns similar to beech, slow burn with a good heat output.  Good

Horse Chestnut: A good wood for burning in wood stoves but not for open fires as it does tend to spit a lot.  It does however produce a good flame and heat output.  Good (for Stoves)

Laburnum:   A very smokey wood with a poor burn.  Very Poor – Do not use.

Larch:   Produces a reasonable heat output, but it needs to be well seasoned. The sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.      Medium

Laurel:  Burns with a good flame but only reasonable heat output. It needs to be well seasoned.           Medium

Lilac:  Its smaller branches are good to use as kindling, the wood itself burns well with a good flame.      Good

Lime:   Not a good wood for burning as it produces very little flame or heat output.     Poor

Maple:   Is a good burning wood that produces good flame and heat output.     Good

Oak:   Because of its density, oak produces a small flame and very slow burn, it is best when seasoned for a minimum of two years as it is a wood that requires time to season well.    Good

Pear:   Burns well with good heat output, however it does need to be seasoned well.     Good

Pine Species:   (Including Leylandii) Burns with a good flame, but the resin sap can cause deposits to form in the flue and can increase the risk of a chimney fire must be well seasoned.      Good  (with caution)

Plum:   A good burning wood that produces good heat output.      Good

Poplar:   A very smokey wood with a poor burn.      Very Poor

Rowan: Is a good burning wood that has a slow burn with good heat output.     Very Good

Rhododendron: The older and thick stems can burn well.     Good

Robinia (Acacia):   Is a good burning wood that has a slow burn with good heat output. It does produce an acrid and dense smoke but this is of course not a problem in a stove.     Good (for Stoves)

Spruce:   Produces a poor heat output and it does not last well.    Poor

Sycamore:   Produces a good flame, but with only moderate heat output. Should only be used well-seasoned.     Medium

Sweet Chestnut: The wood burns ok when well-seasoned but it does tend to spit a lot. This is of course not a problem in a stove.      Medium (for Stoves)

Thorn:   One of the best woods for burning. It produces a steady flame and very good heat output, and produces very little smoke.     Very Good

Walnut:   is a moderate to good burning wood.     Medium

Willow:   A poor fire wood that does not burn well even when seasoned.       Poor

Yew:   A good burning wood as it has a slow burn, and produces a very good heat output.    Very Good

(Thanks to http://www.deanforge.co.uk    Wood Burning Stoves for this information)