WHICH WOOD BURNS BEST?  

Wood suitable for burning on a Wood-burning or Multi-fuel stove. 

The quality of the following firewood is based upon various characteristics such as its speed of burn, heat given off, tendency to spark (spit), ease of splitting, time required to season, etc 
GRADE: 1 = POOR 
GRADE: 2 = LOW 
GRADE: 3 = GOOD 
GRADE: 4 = HIGH 
COMMON NAME 
BOTANICAL NAME 
COMMENTS 
GRADE 
Alder 
Alnus 
A low quality firewood 
Grade: 1 
Apple 
Malus 
Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without sparking/spitting. 
Grade: 3 
Ash 
Fraxinus 
Considered to be one of the best woods for firewood. It has a low water content (approx. 50%) and can be split very easily with an axe. It can be burned green but like all wood is best when seasoned. Burns at a steady rate and not too fast. 
Grade: 4 
Beech 
Fagus 
Beech has a high water content (approx. 90%) so only burns well when seasoned well. Not as good as Oak. 
Grade: 3 
Birch 
Betula 
Birch is an excellent firewood and will burn unseasoned. However, it does burn very fast so is best mixed with slower burning wood such as Elm or Oak. 
Grade:  
3-4 
Cedar 
Cedrus 
A good firewood which burns well with a pleasant smell. Gives off a good, lasting heat. Doesn’t spit too much and small pieces can be burned unseasoned 
Grade: 2 
Cherry 
Prunus 
Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting. 
Grade:  
2-3 
Elm 
Ulmus 
A good firewood but due to its high water content of approximately 140% (more water than wood!) it must be seasoned very well. It may need assistance from another faster burning wood such as Birch to keep it burning well. However it gives off a good, lasting heat and burns very slowly. Dutch Elm Disease is producing a constant & plentiful supply of small dead hedgerow Elm trees of a small diameter. Larger pieces of wood will prove difficult to split. 
Grade: 
2-3 
Eucalyptus 
Eucalyptus 
Allow to season well since the wood is very wet (sappy) when fresh. Can be difficult to split due to stringy wood fibre. Best method is to slice into rings and allow to season during the summer, the rings will start to split themselves. Burns fast with a pleasant smell and without spitting. 
Grade: 
2-3 
Hawthorn 
Crataegus 
Good firewood. Burns well 
Grade:  
3-4 
Hazel 
Corylus 
Excellent firewood. Allow to season. Burns fast but without spitting 
Grade: 4 
Holly 
Ilex 
Can be burnt green. A good firewood 
Grade: 3 
Hornbeam 
Carpinus 
Good firewood. Burns well 
Grade: 3 
Horse Chestnut 
Aesculus 
A low quality firewood 
Grade: 2 
Larch 
Larix 
Needs to be seasoned well. Spits excessively while it burns and forms an oily soot within chimney’s. 
Grade: 1 
Lime 
Tilia 
A low quality firewood 
Grade: 2 
Oak 
Quercus 
One of the best firewood’s. When seasoned well, it gives off a good, lasting heat. Burns reasonably slowly. 
Grade: 4 
Pear 
Pyrus 
Needs to be seasoned well. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting. 
Grade: 3 
Pine 
Pinus 
Needs to be seasoned well. Spits while it burns and forms an oily soot within chimney’s. 
Grade: 1 
Plane 
Platanus 
A usable firewood 
Grade: 3 
Poplar 
Populus 
Considered a poorer firewood (see comments below) 
Grade: 1 
Rowan 
Sorbus aucuparia 
Good firewood. Burns well 
Grade: 3 
Spruce 
Picea 
A low quality firewood 
Grade: 2 
Sweet Chestnut 
Castanea 
Burns when seasoned but spits continuously and excessively. Not for use on an open fire and make sure wood-burning stoves have a good door catch 
Grade: 1-2 
Sycamore (Maples) 
Acer pseudoplatanus 
Good firewood. Burns well 
Grade: 3 
Walnut 
Juglans 
A low quality firewood 
Grade: 2 
Wellingtonia 
Sequoiadendron 
Poor for use as a firewood. 
Grade: 1 
Willow 
Salix 
Willow has a high water content so only burns well when seasoned well 
Grade: 2 
Yew 
Taxus 
A usable firewood 
Grade: 
2-3 
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