Shagbark Hickory Firewood
Shagbark Hickory is one of the best firewood species available. It has very dense wood that is often used for tool handles because of its strength and ability to absorb shock. Slow growing, Shagbark can reach heights of over 100 feet tall.
Shagbark is most easily identified by the presence of its shaggy bark. The bark is gray colored and forms long skinny plates that vertically peel off of the tree. No doubt about it, this tree looks shaggy!
The branching is alternate and the leafs are pinnately compound and have 5-7 leaflets per leaf.
The form of this tree is round to oblong with a tall straight trunk. It sometimes grows up to 120' tall. It has rounded nuts that are between 1.5-2" in diameter surrounded by husks(they are also quite tasty!).
The bottom line is that you will identify this tree from its bark. The only other tree that has bark that is remotely similar is Silver Maple. And you can eliminate Silver Maple by determining whether the tree is alternately or oppositely branched.
Processing Ease and Heating Value
In terms of heating value, Hickory is top notch. It is a very dense and heavy wood, therefore it burns very long and hot.
Unfortunately, it is tough to split. Sorry, you can't have it all!
If you have access to this wood, use it! It's great firewood. It even smells really nice when you burn it. Hickory is often used to smoke food because of its nice aroma.
As I mentioned before, it is a tough splitting wood. However, it's not impossible to split by hand. I would recommend using a wood splitter to process the wood, but you can still get the job done by hand.
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