I am indebted to Lars Mytting for the inspiration to write a post about ‘trees for burning’ that would fit with our gardeners tips. Trees are a good source of green energy that can often be used for various constructions including boats and furniture instead of reaching a fiery end.
Odd Facts about Wood and Trees for Burning.
- All timber has pound for pound the same calorific value. Some burn hot and fast whilst other yield their heat treasure more slowly. The heating values per cubic meter vary with the weight.
- Virtually all trees will burn once they have dried. They will dry quicker if they are split as the bark retains moisture.
- Wounded Pine trees produce a lot of resin which produces ‘fatwood’ that burns strongly.
- Rowan and Birch make great glowing embers with which to rekindle a fire.
- Stacked would is measured in cords (not music to my ears).
- Ash contains less moisture than many common trees and the wood is prized for burning, furniture making and its ability to be coppiced.
- Beech grows slowly but can be long lived reaching 5 feet in diameter.It has a fine texture and can be steamed and used in furniture making.
- Birch grows tall, knot free and straight a virtue in wood that needs drying, chopping or using for furniture making. It rots quickly if left on the ground.
- Spruce and other conifers are prone to spitting and crackling when burnt but provides quick heat.
- Oak is revered for its strength and has long been used as a building material. It will burn with great satisfaction but who would want to destroy such a useful wood.
- More individual pieces of Aspen are burnt than any other wood because Aspen is used to make matches.
What About Gardens and Trees for Burning
- It would take a large garden to grow enough wood for burning to heat a house but dry branches and twigs can be a start.
- Clean air acts and pollution have curtailed garden fires but dry wood burns in a chimneyed dustbin without too much smoke.
- Charcoal for a barbecue is best bought specially for the purpose.
- Firethorn, burning bushes and bonfire night plots are not trees for our type of burning.
Trees Burning with a Scent
- All smoke smells to a greater or lesser extent but one all time favourite is wood from an Apple tree. The fruity aroma pervades the room.
- Cedar has a strong scent that appeals to many. My house is named Cedar Ville for it’s cladding rather than burning (I hope).
- Pine cones are a quick scented burner and the season wood will burn well if you can stand a pit of spitting.
- If wood is hard to obtain you can get a herbal aroma from burning Rosemary or other fragrant herbs.
In the words of Lars – ‘In Learning About Wood, We Can Learn About Life
Part guide to the best practice in every aspect of working with this renewable energy source, part meditation on the human instinct for survival, this definitive handbook on the art of chopping, stacking and drying wood in the Scandinavian way has resonated across the world, with more than half a million copies sold worldwide.’