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Ash - the best wood to grow for firewood?

john smith

Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
From a search, ash is considered to be the best wood to grow for firewood.

Does anyone have an idea of how much land it would take, and how long per cord?

Ash is widely regarded as the best wood species to burn. This is because it is a hardwood, and has excellent burning properties, including:

    * Ash logs last much longer than softwoods when burned in stoves or open fires
    * When burned, it turns into a bright red glow, with high heat output
    * It has few knots, so sparks less than other woods
    * Burns completely, and leaves very little ash
    * Less smoke emitted so chimneys are cleaner
    * Clean to handle

In order to burn efficiently, it is important that the firewood be dried - with a moisture content of less than 30%.

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john smith

Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
Here's a thread about growing willow for firewood.


'm just about to plant some willow this winter

there ae types especially for biofuel

the stuff grows like mental, 10ft a year. long straight trunks

you leave it for 2-3 years to get a decent thinckness and then cut it down
tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3328
Location: woodland, washington
I don't think I would plant a tree for the single function of firewood.  fortunately, both your candidates there are useful for a great many other things beside burning.

ash (Fraxinus) wood is very useful stuff for all sorts of woodworking.  I don't think it'll last exposed to the elements, though.  think baseball and cricket bats, musical instruments, furniture.  the internet even tells me that automobile frames are made from ash.

how much land and time you'll need to supply yourself with ash or willow firewood is going to be very much dependent on the specifics of your site.  I have seen the figure one cord/acre/year for coppiced ash thrown around, and I imagine that's probably a reasonable estimate of what you could get from a mature woodlot.  my guess is that you would harvest on something around a five to eight year rotation, where 1/5 to 1/8 of the trunks are cut each year.  if that's the case, you'll have at least five years until your first harvest, though you would be planting every year until then.

one cord/acre/year doesn't sound like very much to me, but I'm just getting started with this firewood stuff and my sense of these things isn't very well tuned.

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Joel Hollingsworth

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Almond is another good candidate to serve several functions, in this case food and fuel. Almond fruit is apparently an OK livestock feed.

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Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
we have a lot of white ash on our property...problem is now the emerald ash borere is getting to be quite a problem all over our area ..so the trees don't have a great chance of growing to adulthood.


once you have an adult ash and it sends out seeds, you'll have ash babies everywhere.

ash babies grow extremely fast and make tall straight trunks very quickly, which is great for firewood but also for lumber.

ash is hard..makes good tools.

some of our ash are showing signs of decline..but they tend to grow quite large before they decline..so they make quick firewood..so we aren't oging to eliminate the ash trees, and who knows, maybe they'll grow some resistance to boreres like the elm did to elm disease..

we wil be cutting a few ash this next year..but we have a lot of them growing..they eventually have to be thinned out anyway as they'lll grow quite close togheter into a large woods very quickly..

i highly recommend ash for firewood growth on your property but do keep an eye out for the boreres..yhouc an get plugs to put into the tree to kill them but so far we haven't invsted in t he lugs here yet...not sure about insecticides you know ..


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john smith

Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
The moringa tree is usually cut to 3 to 5 feet high once a year.
This one below is probably more lush than usual as they get quite a bit of rain in Hawaii.

The wood is very, very soft, though the tree is a good living fencepost. It makes acceptable firewood but poor charcoal.

It is an extremely fast-growing tree. Roy Danforth in Zaire wrote, "The trees grow more rapidly than papaya, with one three month old tree reaching 8 feet. I never knew there would be such a tree." The tree in our organic garden grew to about 15 feet in 9 months, and had been cut back twice to make it branch out more.


Any idea how much wood a moringa this size would yield?

Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
Does anyone have an idea of how much land it would take, and how long per cord?

Hard to say. Your location and climate will have a lot to do with how much wood you need and also how well a woodlot can be managed.
Where I live, black ash is available and makes a very nice fire but birch is far and away the most popular firewood because it is easier to manage than ash.

* Burns completely, and leaves very little ash
* Less smoke emitted so chimneys are cleaner

These points have more to do with the efficiency of the combustion appliance than with the wood. Any wood can be burnt completely with little smoke or residue if burned at a high enough temperature.
Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
i was informed by a neighbor this weekend that the ash and elm that have been dying around here seem to nearly all be 25 years old or older..they said that they were reesarching and found that the diseases generally don't hit the trees when they are young  and that nearly all the trees that are dying are at least 20 yeaqrs old.

a 20 year old tree is just about the right size for cutting for firewood, not too large to handle and will yield a decent size log that won't have to be split to be burned..so i guess i'm not going to be so concerned about my baby ash trees and the elms that are growing around here..if they'll live 25 years and i'm 59..the ones that will die in my lifetime will be burned for firewood in our wood furnace and those that live longer will provide shade and habitat

Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Posts: 22
I found this list of firewood trees for zones 5 and up.  Oddly neither Ash nor Elm are included, however, I cannot grow either tree because of Dutch Elm disease and Emerald Ash borer, which decimated all trees near me (Long Ialsnd, NY).

(Million BTUs)

1. Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) 32.9
2. Oak, White (Quercas alba) 29.1
3. Locust, Black (Robinia pseudoacacia) 27.9
4. Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) 27.9
5. Hickory, Shagbark (Carya ovata) 27.5
6. Apple (Malus domestica) 27.0
7. Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) 26.7
8. Hickory, Bitternut (Carya cordiformis) 26.7
9. Oak, Bur (Quercus macrocarpa) 26.2
10. Mulberry (Trees from the Moraceae Morus family) 25.8

WARNING:  DO NOT plant the Asian / Russian white or paper Mulberries!  They are devastatingly invasive!  You CANNOT KILL THEM!  The roots spread when you try; they take over EVERYTHING!  One tiny piece of root destroys your compost pile and leaf mould.  Even the most potent tree killing chemicals do not work (stump dies, roots THRIVE and SPREAD)!

Plant the native Red Mulberry or even the Black Mulberry – yummy berries and NOT invasive!  The native red grows so fast – keep on top of it with pruning if you want a traditional tree!  I haven’t tried coppicing them, but I can tell you that when I cut down the white one (hoping to kill it – BEFORE I knew how bad it was) within 2 weeks I had over 10 new shoots that grew into a shrub overnight; the next year they were at least 7 feet tall and FAT but the roots spread over 20 feet away into a new planting hole and took over the ENTIRE garden with little baby white mulberries EVERYWHERE – that’s when I bought the deadly chemicals and killed the stump – that only made the roots more determined to spread!

OK, sorry, that tree should be BANNED, it is so bad!  Anyhow, as for how many trees to plant for firewood, that site says this:

“Now unless you’re a lumberjack, or semipro wood cutter, you’re probably wondering what the blazes is a DBH. That stands for diameter at breast height, taken by measuring a tree’s diameter at about 4 1/2 feet from the ground. Now, this list only goes up to 6 DBH for one reason. Most trees are coppiceable if they are less than 6 inches in diameter and less than 10 feet tall. Therefore, if we want the tree to survive and continue providing us with firewood in a sustainable manner, we don’t want to let it grow bigger than that. So, we will need, on average, about 34 of the above trees to produce one cord of firewood (if that is the amount you really need). I would suggest more, as we are going to coppice them on rotation. The average by today’s standard home (considering the average home is lacking sufficient insulation, has ceilings too high, and if it has a fireplace or stove, it’s inefficient) needs 4 1/2 to seven full cords of wood per year to heat. I will be bold here and state that this is probably due to the fact that modern structures aren’t built toward energy efficiency, and most people don’t burn wood that kicks out a high BTU. The common, lazy fire builder usually goes for lighter, faster burning woods.”

34 trees for one high-BTU cord.  That's nuts!  I burn 3 cords on average, but I don't start until the interior temp drops to 54 degrees.
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1027
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
I'm incline to say the best wood is what ever you have that is dry and not resin filled. For us that is mostly sugar maple but this year we have a lot of ash. Varies with what I've thinned out or is left over from our forestry. Generally I keep the less nice wood as we sell all the rest. Dead wood standing is nice.


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Kathleen Sanderson

Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
I agree with Walter that the best firewood for you is what grows where you are!  If ash will grow there, then go for it!  Where we lived in Alaska, all that was available was spruce (black and white) and aspen -- there were a few birch trees, but not enough to do much with them, and they are so pretty that we didn't want to cut them anyway.  Aspen is NOT good firewood at all, so we burned spruce, and it kept us plenty warm.  If I ever have to burn spruce (or any other softwood) again, I'll do it in a rocket stove, because we did have quite a bit of creosote in the chimney.

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
In spain the tree used for fire wood is oak very heavy and calorific wood, some coppiced and some pollarded which is to say they grow four to six, usualy, arms on the tree, just above the heads of cattle and cut the wood off these when the shoots that grow off the arms get to about nine centimetres in diametre.
    I have written all about it on another thread in this woodland section.
    They did, when i first came here and still probably do, in some places, use a brazier here, that they kept under a table that is covered in long heavy cloths. You boil when you sit at the table, I could not think what was wrong with me the first time i sat at a table with a brazier under it and had the clothes kindly wrapped round my legs.
  The brazier is like a   babers dish without the bite taken out of it and is  usually bronze and is held on a wooden stand.
  To make embers for the brazier they put wood standing up in the fire place, i have only seen it done with broom, stood up in the fire place so it fires up fast and burns down quick leaving burning embers which htey say last all day. In the town, in Madrid, they used to have a funnel they took out into the street in the morning to burn up the wood for embers in, according to a friend of mine.
  If the wood is for embers  it matters what sort of wood you use, they don't have a chimney on brasiers and i was told pine was likely to produce fumes that poison you.  rose macaskie .
Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
were burning mostly elm and ash this year..and yeah, you are right, it all died from the borer or elm disease..some elms and ash are still alive..but they'll eventually be firewood..as they'll eventually all be likely dead.

we are having to learn to figure out other woods to cut for firewood..as oak takes forever to grow and they and maple are about the only hardwoods left in this area..i'm starting to think of harvesting the alder for firewood the more i read about it..it grows fast and is abundant..so i'm going to try it for next year..i know it won't hold fire overnight ..too small..but it might work for daylight fires...when i'm up and stoking it
rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
    Here as they cut the logs of wood oak from the arms of the trees having developed four main arms or from a bol, the new wood grows form the roots and bol or branches of an old tree and does not take too long to regrow. I can check it out to find out after how many years they crop the tree. As a lot of trunks start to grow when you cut down the trunks of the trees imore sprouts grow from the roots of some  types of oak than from others, if you have a good thicket i think you can cut out fire wood each year, cutting out the trunks that have grown big enough that is of about nine centimeters diameter, they use small logs here. agri rose macaskie 
Moody Vaden

Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 55
Location: Maryland
I would not limit myself to just one single type of tree.  Especially Ash.  As mentioned before because of the Emerald Ash Borer.  Back in the 70's my father grew a few acres of Hybrid Poplars for wood.  Not the best burning wood, but boy does it grow straight and fast, and we are in zone 6b/7a, so it doesn't get too cold.  Blight hit the patch of woods into the 6th year and killed off about 80% of the trees.  Funny thing is, thirty-some years later, there aren't any left, but there is Maple, Oak, Cherry and a few others that have established themselves over the years.  My point being, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
Well, I have to throw in my 2 cents - The hottest wood in my area is Osage Orange.  We just call it Hedge.  We use ash and elm for daytime, warmer weather (30-ish or so) burning.

The hedge gives you green, ripply looking balls, some baseball or even softball size,  that critters will eat.  The hedge balls are also used to keep crickets out of your basement or buildings.

Years ago, farmers would plant hedge trees to keep cattle in a pasture.  The wood is also used as fence posts, won't rot as a rule, burns really, really hot.

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Paul Cereghino

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America

Here's a bummer for ash everywhere

Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Fred Morgan

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
One other positive thing on ash, it is a joy to split.

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Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 7381
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
[center]The Firewood Poem

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.[/center]

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Dale Hodgins

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 5500
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
      Birch is a great firewood because it's almost always the perfect size for one swipe splitting or no splitting at all and it comes with its own firestarter attached in the form of quite flammable bark. It's seldom limby and dries quickly.

     One of the worst woods to burn is called piss elm. It smells like piss

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Perry Way

Joined: Nov 07, 2010
Posts: 65
Nobody mentioned black locust yet on this thread. Grows fast, on any soil, in any climate I think. And it doesn't rot. Not the hottest firewood but certainly better than most. I think it's in the top 90%.  In those areas suffering from those diseases for Elm and Ash, black locust will grow nicely, and it's nitrogen fixing.  Someone else mentioned Alder, and that's nitrogen fixing too.  That's okay too but I think black locust makes hotter fires.
Craig Dobbelyu

Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 1188
Location: Maine (zone 5)
We have a lot of ash and locust in our woodpile this year. The ash seems to burn hot and pretty quickly. The locust takes a little while to heat up but tends to burn for a longer period. I've been burning the ash during the day and then start burning the locust from dinner time until bed time. I still have a good amount of hot coals in the morning even if i happen to sleep in late (8am).

We have tons of ash growing too close for their own good so we cut the large ones for firewood then thin the rest out using them for either small fence posts or trellis poles. Even the side branches of the large ash trees are straight enough to use for posts and all sorts of garden supports. I've even used them in a woven fence design for windbreaks. There is certainly a lot you can do with ash. It's too bad about the borers.

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Yone' Ward

Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
It will take nothing less than a miracle to stop the Emerald Ash Borer from going nation wide, so I would plat something else. If you can grow it, the Vine Maple is a good choice as it will grow multiple trunks. You can cut several of them off and it will just grow more. It is also a good hardwood useful for much. There is another tree that will grow here locally that behaves in a similar manner, but I don't know it's name. Keep up the research!

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Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
unfortunately finding very small ash trees are dying now from the emerald ash borer..very small ones (see my blog)..I am cutting down most of the ash on our property that are large enough to actually CUT DOWN..4 or 5 " at base or larger..you can see on our blog where we had to have a crane come in to take one very large one down that died.

They aren't getting big enough now to even really use for firewood (although we will burn them in our furnace they won't really provide much heat as they are very small)..the largest ones have already died and I've taken nearly all the larger ones down already.
L. Jones

Joined: Apr 29, 2012
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
Still have ash, no EAB yet, no reason to think that will continue to be the case, though. They'll get here, and they'll have help from morons travelling with firewood.

Wish I could find someplace that actually has the data online from the purple triangle traps they have up to monitor EAB travel/spread. What they are willing to publish claims it's not here yet, but it's way too close in New York for comfort.

It's great firewood, but there are plenty of things that might be better overall - trees that are good firewood and also grow a significant food (for people or animals, depending how much/little processing you care to do) crop (honey locust, some oaks, mulberry, hickories, pecan if that's an option (it's not here.)) Leguminous feeds the soil around the tree (honey locust, black locust.)

A tree that coppices well (can be grown and cut and will resprout, so the sprout gets to take advantage of the root system and you can get multiple trunks going) is so much the better. Many do, anecdotally, but not having managed a forest that way I'm not sure which ones would be best at that. Likewise if you can cut limbs from it while leaving the tree, and/or cut the top off without killing the tree the replacement growth should be faster than new trees, but you also have to not kill yourself while cutting it.

Speed of growth is a function of light, crowding, and soil.

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lil hodgins

Joined: Feb 06, 2012
Posts: 39
Location: s w france
i grow ash in the mountains and it coppices really well. also throws up lots of babies, so there are always new ones coming on. you can burn it green or seasoned. also it can be used for feeding animals if you have to keep them indoors due to the weather, can even be dried and then fed to them.

Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
well in france you likely don't have the emerald ash borer..

we were really hoping for the firewood from our ash trees as well, they grow very fast and are prolific seeders..but some of my very small ash are dead now from the borer..see my blog..I have photos in there of some of the borer damage and dead ash that are tiny..but the bark has already come off at the base where the borers compromised it.

I wish I could say there was a faster growing tree that is good firewood..the fastest growing tree in our area is aspen, however, it is lousy for holding fire as it burns to hot and fast.

we do burn it however in the spring and fall..

maple is somewhat faster growoing that some other trees like oak, and is great firewood, and we have thousands of baby maples coming up all over our property, but we likely won't be cutting them for firewood in our lifetime (I'm nearly 61)..

the alder and wild cherry on our property only live for a short time and then die..also..so we probably will probably have to IMPORT all of our firewood after the ash are gone, except the aspen.

you can burn fruitwood, but then you don't have the fruit.
subject: Ash - the best wood to grow for firewood?