Can you burn willow firewood? Yes....you can burn it but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best firewood choice.
Before you decided to cut down a willow tree and process it as firewood, lets take a closer look at the tree and its firewood value to see why you might not want to waste your time with it.
There are many different species of willow trees. They thrive in wet or moist soil which is why you 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. In fact, the wood contains so much moisture it will rot before it dries out if you don't split it.
You should allow 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. Obviously, 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.
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 probably isn'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 willow for firewood, however, I would never turn it down if it was free and already processed.
Willow will produce 17.6 million BTU's per cord.