Is ash firewood a good choice to burn this winter? The answer is yes, in fact some may argue that ash is the best firewood to use!
The ash tree is a common tree found throughout most of the United States and Canada.
16 different species of ash have been identified, but the white ash and green ash are the most common species sought after for firewood.
Although ash may produce slightly lower BTU's than oak or sugar maple, it's a popular firewood choice for many people.
Ash is known for splitting very easy and having a low moisture content.
A freshly cut piece of ash has a moisture content slightly higher than seasoned ash.
This allows the tree to be safely used immediately after harvesting.
The white ash, also known at the American Biltmore or cane ash, is considered to be the best among the ash species. This rapidly growing tree is popular for making baseball bats and tool handles do to its strength and flexibility. Woodworkers like the white ash because it can be bent into various shapes without jeopardizing its strength.
The white ash will commonly grow between 70-80 feet tall and likes rich, moist, well drained soils. If grown in open areas, the tree will produce a nice large canopy making it a popular shade tree.
The green ash is one of the most common and abundant species of ash. The tree grows approximately 70 feet tall and can live for up to 100 years, however, 30-50 years is more common.
Often mistaken for the white ash, the green ash has many of the same characteristics. The tree is used more for ornamental purposes and is not as popular for commercial purposes as the white ash.
The ash is a hardy tree resistant to many diseases. One major invasive insect that threatens the ash tree is the Emerald Ash Borer.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a destructive exotic pest from Asia responsible for killing millions of ash trees. First discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002, this invasive species has spread to 14 states and parts of Canada.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a small, 1/2 inch long insect that has a bright metallic green color. The larva is what causes all the damage to the ash tree. The larva tunnels under the bark and disrupts how the tree transports food and water, starving the tree and eventually killing it.
Although the Emerald Ash Borer can fly, the insect is commonly spread by moving firewood. Transporting firewood from your home to another location can increase the spread of this destructive invasive species. Remember not to move firewood and always buy or cut your firewood locally to help prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.
White ash will produce 23.6 million BTU's per cord.
Green ash will produce 20.0 million BTU's per cord.
Overall, the ash is an excellent tree for firewood. The wood supplies good heat and splits extremely well. The ash is very user friendly and depending on who you ask, is often a top choice for anyone who burns firewood.