Black locust firewood is a prized firewood choice. In fact many people choose to burn black locust over other common favorites like ash or oak.
So why is the tree so popular for firewood?
Black locust produces a lot of heat, or BTUs when you burn it. The wood is easy to split, burns slowly and creates a nice, long lasting bed of hot coals making it perfect for an overnight burn.
These coals eventually burn up completely leaving behind just a small pile of ashes.
Black locust is definitely a great choice for firewood, but dealing with the actual black locust tree can be an entirely different experience.
Locust is known for having sharp spines near the leaves. These spines can make handing the wood difficult so wearing a nice pair of leather gloves or latex dipped gloves is important.
If you've never used latex gloves before I highly recommend it. They last longer than leather gloves, you have a lot more dexterity and they're a fraction of the cost compared to a decent quality leather glove.
I switched to latex dipped gloves about 4 years ago and couldn't be happier. I'll never go back to cutting firewood with leather gloves.
The black locust tree is a hardwood but it's unique because it grows faster than most softwoods. Even though the tree grows extremely fast, it still produces tough, dense, heavy firewood.
The tree grows widely throughout the southeastern United States and Europe.
Black locust is easily recognized by its leaves and paired spines. The spines grow on the twigs close to where the leaves are attached. These spines are extremely sharp and always grow in pairs.
The black locust is a medium sized tree and will reach a height of 80 feet. The tree grows very fast and has a life expectancy of 100 years or less.
Black locust is hard to control due to it's rapid growth and clonal spread. Mowing or cutting the black locust to help control the spread can be a difficult task. Many people have turned to herbicides to help control the spread of the black locust and the results have been mixed.
Black locust is popular for fence posts because it's resistant to rot. Some people have even reported the fence posts lasting 80 years without deteriorating and outlasting treated lumber.
Black locust is an excellent choice for firewood. The hot, long lasting fire it produces makes it a popular choice for anyone who heats with wood. It's believed you can burn black locust firewood immediately after cutting down the tree. This belief has mixed results.
Allow the tree to season for around 1 year before attempting to burn it. You will be much happier with the results and you will also decrease the chances of creosote buildup in your chimney.
Black locust burns very hot. If you use a wood stove and are concerned about the fire getting too hot (which is possible with black locust) mix it in with other wood and don't fill the wood stove completely with locust.
Harvesting this prized firewood can be a little tricky. Use thick leather gloves or my favorite, latex dipped gloves and watch out for the sharp spines near the leaves. Also, don't forget the tree is known for its invasive tendencies.
The rapids growth has been known to overwhelm some fields and controlling the growth or spread is difficult.
Overall, locust is a great firewood to burn. By cutting down these rapidly growing trees you'll not only help control its invasive tendencies, but you'll keep your house very warm in the process.
Black locust will produce 27.9 million BTU's per cord.