Is Ash Good for Firewood?

Ash trees are a flowering plant genus in the Oleaceae family, which also includes olives and lilacs.

It is home to 45–65 species of medium to large-sized deciduous trees, as well as a few subtropical evergreens. The tree is widely available in most of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Although there are many different types of ash trees white ash and green ash are the most common in North America.

These species are very versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes including lumber, flooring, tool handles, and even baseball bats.

ash trees

However, the question remains, is ash good for firewood?

The answer is yes, ash is a good choice for firewood. It has a moderately high heat output while not creating much spark when burned.

Additionally, it burns relatively slowly and evenly while producing minimum smoke compared to most other types of wood.

Ashwood ignites easily, and coals last long, so it is perfect for both starting and maintaining a fire. It also doesn’t leave behind much ash residue, making cleanup a breeze.

What characteristics does Ash firewood have?

Ash is a fast-growing tree that can reach heights of 100 feet and even 130 feet. The tree’s trunk can grow more than 3 feet wide. The wood from an ash tree is white to light brown in color with a straight grain.

However, white ashes and green ashes may have slight differences in their firewood qualities.

Moderately High Heat Output

Green ash has a heat output of 20 Million BTUs of Heat per Cord while white ash has a heat output of 24.2 Million BTUs of Heat per Cord. It means that a cord of white ash will produce around 20% more heat than a cord of green ash.

Medium-density wood

Green ash weighs 4184 lbs./Cord when green and 2880 lbs./Cord when dry. White ash weighs 3952 lbs./Cord when green and 3472 lbs./Cord when dry.

ash tree logs

This means that white ash is denser and more compact than green ash. You will also be able to get more firewood from a white ash tree than from a green ash tree.

Coals well

Coaling is an important thing to consider when choosing firewood. Both white ash and green ash coal very well which means they will continue to produce heat even after the flames have died down. This makes it ideal for both starting and maintaining a fire.

For the best coaling results, it is recommended to use properly seasoned firewood in the shape of rounds or split logs that aren’t too small.

Low level of smoke

The smoke generation of firewood is an important consideration. Because the cleaner the burning wood, the less pollution it produces. Low smoke protects the environment both inside and outside your home.

When burned, ash produces a minimum amount of smoke. This is due to the fact that it has a low sap content. The low sap content also means that it will produce less creosote buildup in your chimney.

Low sparking

Sparking is another important thing to consider when choosing firewood. It is especially important if you have a wood-burning stove in your home. Because if the wood sparks too much, it can cause a fire in your stove.

Ash produces very few sparks which makes it a safer choice if you have a fireplace or woodstove.

Even burning

Nobody wants a fire that burns quickly and then dies out. We want firewood that burns evenly and slowly so we can enjoy the fire for a longer time.

Ash burns evenly and slowly, meaning that you won’t have to add more wood to the fire as often. This also means that it will produce long-lasting coals.

Ease of cleanup

Burning wood produces ash, it’s just a fact of life. But some types of wood produce more ash than others.

Because ash leaves behind very little ash, it is easy to clean up after burning. This makes it a convenient choice for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up a lot of ash.

Slight fragrance

Every tree produces its own unique scent. And ash is no different. The wood has a slight but pleasant fragrance that many people enjoy. Many people find its fragrance similar to the smell of cedar yet milder.

If you are looking for wood to smoke your food with, then ash isn’t a good choice. Because the wood doesn’t have a strong flavor, it won’t impart much flavor to your food.

Doesn’t Pop or Crackle Much

Popping and cracking happen when water boils inside the wood and then suddenly turns to steam. The sudden expansion of the steam causes the wood to crack or pop.

Popping and cracking sounds can be annoying when you’re trying to enjoy a quiet fire.

But more importantly, they can also be dangerous. Because if the logs are popping and cracking too much, it can cause them to break apart and fly out of the fireplace.

Ash is a good choice if you want a fire that doesn’t pop or crackle much. Because the wood is dense and has a low moisture content, it doesn’t pop or crackle as much as other types of wood.

Ease of Splitting

Although green ash is easy to split, white ash can be a little more difficult. This is because white ash has a tighter grain than green ash. However, both types of ash split fairly easily compared to other types of wood.

log splitter

If you have an axe or maul, you shouldn’t have any problems splitting either type of ash.

However, the best way to split ash is with a log splitter or chainsaw. These tools make the job a lot easier and quicker.

Stackability

Ash is a good choice if you’re looking for wood that stacks well. Because the logs are relatively straight and have a uniform shape, they stack easily without toppling over.

Ash is also a good choice if you’re looking for wood to use in a fireplace or wood stove. Because it can be easily split and stacked, it’s easy to store and use.

Resistance to Rot and Insects

Ash as hardwood is more resistant to rot and insects than most other types of wood.

Because the wood is dense and has a high tannin content, it is not as susceptible to rot and insects as other types of wood.

The high tannin content also makes ash much less attractive to termites and other insects.

Also, the tree doesn’t hold much moisture, so the wood is less likely to rot. If it is compared to other trees like poplar, ash is more resistant to rot.

Drying Time (Seasoning)

Almost all types of wood need to be seasoned (dried) before burning. Seasoning is the process of removing the moisture from the wood so it burns better and produces less smoke.

Ash dries relatively quickly, in six to twelve months. If you’re not sure how long the wood needs to be seasoned, this is a relatively short seasoning period when compared to other types of wood.

If you are buying wood to burn now, make sure that it is dry and ready to burn. If the wood is not dry, it will produce a lot of smoke and be difficult to light.

Most firewood sold on the market is kiln-dried and ready to burn. The process firewood goes through to become kiln-dried is, it is heated in a kiln to remove moisture.

With this suppliers can guarantee a certain moisture level without having to wait months or a year for the wood to season.

Ash dries relatively quickly, in six to twelve months. If you’re not sure how long the wood needs to be seasoned, this is a relatively short seasoning period when compared to other types of wood.

Sustainability

Ash trees grow in 16 to 60 years on average depending on the specific species. And the wood is harvested when the tree is anywhere between 40 to 100 years old.

Once the tree is harvested, it can be used for a variety of things like furniture, flooring, tool handles, and of course firewood.

The reason why ash may not be the best choice for firewood in the long term is that it’s not a very sustainable option. It takes a long time for the trees to grow and they’re not always harvested when they’re at their peak.

There are trees that grow much faster and can be harvested more frequently, which makes them a more sustainable choice for firewood. For example, poplar trees only take 5 to 20 years to mature and can be harvested every few years.

The downside is that poplar is not as good of wood for firewood as ash. It’s not as dense and doesn’t burn as hot or long. Also, it creates more smoke and sparks than ash.

Cost

Ash as hardwood has many different uses, so it’s not always the cheapest option for firewood. The cost of ash firewood can vary depending on where you live and the time of year.

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 per cord. The price is usually higher in the winter when the demand is higher.

If you’re looking for cheap firewood, you might want to consider other options like poplar or birch.

Conclusion

Ash is a good choice for firewood since it has moderately high heat output, and burns hot and long.

It doesn’t produce as much smoke and sparks as other woods, making it a safer choice to burn.

The firewood is also easy to split and stack, and it’s not as susceptible to rot or insects as other types of wood. It doesn’t require a long seasoning period and the wood since the tree doesn’t hold much moisture.

The downside is that ash is not a very sustainable option since it takes a long time for the trees to grow. The cost of ash firewood can also be high since the ash wood has many different uses.

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