Beech Firewood

Beech firewood is an commonly used species for burning in the woodstove. Read below to learn about ID features, heating value and recommendations.

Identification Features

Beech is an easy tree to identify because of its unique bark. The bark on beech trees looks like the skin of an elephant. It is very smooth and gray colored.

The form of the tree is oval with dense branching. In open areas, branches will often droop very close to the ground. The branching is alternate with leaves that are glossy green with a tapered oval shape.

Beech trees produce nuts which are very tasty to wildlife and are suitable for human consumption. These nuts are identified by the spikey husk that surrounds them.

Beech wood is light colored and has many uses including furniture and tool handles.

Processing Ease & Heating Value

Beech has an above average heating value and should be utilized as firewood when available.

Personally, I find beech a difficult wood to split. You will need a maul or at least a very thick axe to get the job done. When processing a lot of beech, it may not be a bad idea to use a hydraulic woodsplitter.

Overall Recommendation

In the northeastern US, I think that beech is best utilized as a firewood species. In this area, most beech trees get infected with beech bark disease which limits the species value in other respects. For that reason, I highly recommend cutting beech firewood because it is the best use for the tree.

Its heating value is quite high, and although it doesn't split easily, it's not the worst splitting species out there.

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