Box Elder Firewood

Box Elder firewood is not an ideal species for many reasons. It grows very fast, breaks just as quick, attracts a nuisance pest and doesn't heat well.

I think the only people that actually like this tree are arborists who get business from box elder cleanups. Pretty good job security for a tree guy.

Identification Features

Box elder(Acer negundo) is actually a very soft variety of maple. Therefore, it has the opposite branching and samaras that all maples share.

It does not have the typical maple upright form with a single stem. It usually has an ugly form with multiple stems. Basically, if you find a tree with opposite branching, multiple stems and signs of past wind's probably a box elder!!!

The leaves are compound and look basically like a typical maple leaf. Bark is gray to light brown colored with ridges. This tree likes to grow in moist soil but can also be found on dry sites.

Heating Value and Ease of Processing

Box elder has a low firewood rating. It burns quickly and does not coal very well at all. If you are heating with this stuff, you'll constantly need to add more wood to the fire.

In terms of processing, box elder firewood is about average. It does not split easily, but it's not too bad either.


Box elder bugs that feed and reproduce in the trees can become a major nuisance. These bugs often times invade houses in very significant numbers and can become a serious pain.

The bugs lay their eggs in the crevices of box elder trees in the spring. Therefore, if you get infested wood at the wrong time of the year, this bug could become a problem.


Stay away from box elder firewood unless you have limited choices. Personally, unless it was free, I wouldn't bother with it. It lacks value as a firewood species, and as an added smells bad!

If you do decide to use box elder, use it as kindling/campfire wood or mix it in with better species of firewood.

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