Are Dead or Alive Trees better for firewood?

by John Carson
(Margaretville, NY)

What is better for fireplace burning?
A. live wood cut, split and dried for 12 months
B. dead wood cut, split and dried for 12 months

The dead wood I get is typically standing or at least off the ground.

Answer

John,

It depends on a couple of factors. If the dead wood has not decomposed at all, then it will be superior from the standpoint that it will have a lower moisture content and should season more quickly. However, standing dead trees often have rot in the wood which is not ideal.

So it really depends on the species. For the majority of types of firewood, 12 months is an adequate amount of time to season the wood if it is split and stacked in optimal conditions. However, some species such as oak and elm may take a little bit longer to season than 12 months, depending on the weather and drying conditions.

My thought is that as long as the dead wood isn't rotten, it's better because it will be quicker to dry. That being said, the difference isn't likely to be substantial so it's really just a matter of preference for you.

I hope this helps!

-Firewood Matt

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