Firewood grades

The quality of the following firewood has been graded based upon various variables such as its speed of burn, heat given off, propensity to spark (spit), ease of splitting, time required to adequately season, etc.

Key: - Grade: 1 = Poor, Grade: 2 = Okay, Grade: 3 = Good, Grade: 4 = Excellent.

 

 Alder

Alnus 

Low quality firewood. Grade: 1 

 

 Apple

Malus 

Needs to be well seasoned. Burns well with a pleasant smell and no sparking/spitting. Grade: 3

 Ash

Fraxinus 

One of the best firewoods. It has a low water content and is easily split with an axe. Burns best when seasoned but can be burned green. Grade: 4 

 Beech

Fagus 

Beech has a high water content and will therefore only burn when seasoned. Grade: 3 

 Birch

Betula 

An excellent firewood that will burn when green. However, it burns quickly so should be mixed with a slower burning wood such as Oak. Grade: 3/4

 Cedar 

Cedrus 

A good firewood which burns with a pleasant smell. Gives a good lasting heat and does not spit much. Small pieces may be burned green. Grade: 2/3 

 Cherry

Prunus 

Must be well seasoned. Burns with a pleasant smell 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. Larger pieces of wood will prove difficult to split. Grade: 2/3

 Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus 

Allow to season well since the wood is very 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 

A good firewood. Grade: 3/4 

 Hazel

Corylus 

An excellent wood when seasoned. Burns fast without spitting. Grade: 4 

 Holly

Ilex 

A good firewood that can be burned green. Grade: 3 

 Hornbeam

Carpinus 

Burns well. Grade: 3 

 Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum 

A fairly poor firewood. Grade: 2 

 Larch

Larix 

A very poor firewood which spits excessively while burning and leaves an oily soot in the chimney. Provides a good heat. Grade: 1

 Lime

Tilia 

Poor quality firewood. Grade: 2 

 Oak

Quercus 

One of the best firewoods. When seasoned well, it gives off a good, lasting heat. Burns reasonably slowly. Grade: 4 

 Pear

Pyrus 

If well-seasoned it burns nicely with a pleasant smell. Grade: 3 

 Pine

Pinus 

Burns hot but needs to be well seasoned. Leaves an oily soot in the chimney and spits excessively. Grade: 1 

 Plane

Platanus 

A reasonable quality firewood. Grade: 3 

 Poplar

Populus

Very poor firewood. Burns with a poor heat and only usable when well seasoned. Grade: 1

 Rowan

Sorbus aucuparia

Burns well. Grade: 3

 Spruce

Picea

Low quality. Grade: 2

 Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

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

 Maple (including Sycamore)

Acer

Burns well. Grade: 3

 Walnut

Juglans 

Poor quality firewood. Grade: 2 

 Wellingtonia

Sequoiadendron 

Very bad quality. Grade: 1 

 Willow

Salix 

A high water content means it needs to be well seasoned. Grade: 2/3 

 Yew

Taxus 

Usable. Grade: 2/3 

 

 

Courtesy of the Arboricultural Information Exchange: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~skellern/aie_news.html