Throw another log on the fire, winter’s coming

Black walnut, such as this logged this summer near Scranton, drives the forest industry in Kansas and accounted for 43% of the timber harvested in 2009. Timber is one of Osage County’s little known crops.

With the winter chill upon us, if you don’t have your firewood stacked up, you’re wishing you did.  If using firewood to heat your home, remember not all firewood is created equal. Some species of trees are able to produce much more heat per cord of wood. A cord is the amount of wood in a well-stacked woodpile measuring 4 feet wide by 8 feet long by 4 feet high.

Following are heat values (in million BTUs) per cord for various species of tree. The higher the value, the better the wood.

Ash, Green 22.8
Cottonwood 15.9
Elm, American 19.8 Difficult to split
Elm, Siberian 20.9 Difficult to split
Hackberry 21.0
Honeylocust 25.6
Locust, Black 28.3 Difficult to split
Maple, Sugar 24.0
Maple, Silver 18.9
Mulberry 25.3
Oak, Red 24.0
Oak, Bur 24.9
Oak, Post 25.6
Osage Orange (Hedge ) 32.6 Sparks, do not use in open fireplace
Sycamore 19.5 Difficult to split
Walnut, Black 21.8

Remember to obtain firewood locally. Emerald Ash Borer is now in Kansas because of transported wood.

The Kansas Forest Service has a publication titled “Managing Your Woodland for Firewood” that is quite helpful.

Contributor: Ward Upham, Extension Associate, K-State Research and Extension.


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