Willow Firewood

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Can you burn willow firewood?

Yes, you can burn it, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best firewood choice.

Willow trees are pretty easy to grow.

They grow fast, and you can actually grow one in as little as four years.

However, the wood does have a lot of criticism, but it also has its advantages.

Before you decide to cut down a willow tree and process it as firewood, lets take a closer look at the tree.

Then, study its firewood value to see why you might not want to waste your time with it.

The Willow Tree

There are many different species of willow trees.

They thrive in wet or moist soil, so you'll commonly see the trees growing around lakes, streams, and ponds.

Although the tree is technically classified as a hardwood, the wood itself is very soft and wet compared to other hardwoods like oak or maple

Willow firewood has a high moisture content.

The wood contains so much moisture it will rot before it dries out if you don't split it.

It would be best if you allowed willow to season at least one year before using it.

Splitting willow can range from easy to difficult, depending on the tree and the section of tree you are attempting to split.

I've split some willow trees that split real easy while other trees were a nightmare.

Crotches and crooked branches will be harder to split, but overall it just seems to depend on the tree. 

Willow will pop and spark as it burns, and it gives off a very strong odor.

Most people say it stinks, but some people actually like the way it smells.

I personally don't care for the smell.

The wood burns very fast compared to superior hardwoods, and it's generally burned in the spring or fall when the outside temperatures are mild.

Cutting Willow Firewood

Overall, willow has a lot of qualities that are not desirable for firewood.

The time and energy you have to put into felling, cutting, splitting, and stacking it aren’t worth the heat you get in return.

If you've ever looked at a willow tree, you know that the base of the tree can be huge.

In fact, unless you have a big chainsaw, many people don't even have a bar long enough to cut through it.

If you do manage to cut up the large base, you're still left with the huge, wet, heavy rounds that are hard to maneuver.

The effort spent to handle these large, heavy chunks of wood that will eventually dry out to a lightweight and fast-burning firewood hardly justifies your time and energy. 

I usually don't waste my time cutting willows for firewood.

However, I would never turn it down if it was free and already processed. 

Willow will produce 17.6 million BTUs per cord.

Can You Burn Willow Firewood In Your Fireplace?

You can burn willow firewood in your home, but it is not the best type to use.

It can produce a cloud of dense smoke if not well-seasoned.

This means an outdoor fireplace is preferable.

Furthermore, willow firewood is a hardwood, and it is known to produce less heat, meaning it cannot warm your home effectivly without constantly adding it to your stove or fireplace.

The Sap Content In A Willow Tree

There are various types of willow woods, but all of them have a watery sap content.

The resin is rich in salicylic acid, which is a hormone known to defend plants against pathogens.

Traditionally, trees with this acid are useful for treating toothaches and fever. 

Different Ways To Use Willow Wood

As much as willow wood is hardwood, it hardly burns, and it produces a lot of soot.

If you have some willow logs around your home, you can decide to let them dry even if it takes a long time.

That way, you can use it as firewood.

If you have no time to let it dry, you can use it in making furniture.

Willow wood is resistant to shock, and it is light hardwood.

That makes it relatively easy to carve, making it an excellent fit for making furniture.

You can use it for whittling projects or to make intricate and small furniture.

Florists can also use willow wood to make baskets.

Also, as people demand fewer plastics, willow wood can be used to make hampers, wreaths, and coffins.

Given that it produces a medicinal sap content that defends plants against pathogens, you can plant it near other trees such as apple trees to combat infections.

Willow Firewood BTU Rating

As we mentioned before, willow only has a BTU rating of 17.6 million BTUs per cord, which is pretty low.

The amount of heat that firewood can release or produce can be measured in BTUs.

Willow wood has a low BTU rating compared to other hardwoods, which is why it’s not a very good choice to burn.

They are prone to have more water, and as it dries or burns, the water evaporates, carrying away the heat.

Overall - Willow Firewood

Generally, willow is not suitable for firewood.

If you are patient, though, you can actually use it as firewood as long as you split it up and give it plenty of time to dry out.

It has a strong smell, but maybe you won't mind the scent because everyone has their own preference.

If you are in need of firewood, consider looking for hardwoods such as ash, oak, maple, and birch, among others.

These types of firewood will burn longer and hotter, resulting in a much better wood burning experience.


About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videos to help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.