Would you like to know if Aspen firewood? Then you’re in the right place. When determining if any wood makes good firewood, you should consider its characteristics and burn qualities.
Seasoning is also an essential factor to take into account. This article will discuss some key points to consider when choosing Aspen firewood for your fireplace.
What Is Aspen Firewood?
Aspen leaves in autumn colors.
Aspen firewood is characteristically lightweight and easy to split, making it a popular choice for firewood. However, despite being a hardwood, Aspen doesn’t burn as hot or as long as others like Maple and Oak.
Thus, you may consider using other hardwoods instead of Aspen firewood if you’re looking for a longer-lasting fire. Despite this, aspen firewood is still a good option for kindling or use in wood stoves and fireplaces.
Burning Characteristics of Aspen Firewood
An Aspen Forest.
A stack of firewood.
Aspen takes only 6 to 12 months to season before you can use it as firewood. Although it is a hardwood, this property makes it resemble softwoods such as pine.
It has a fast-seasoning time primarily because it has a lower density than typical hardwoods.
Moreover, Aspen is susceptible to rotting if you fail to protect it properly after drying. Hence, to prevent this, you should store it under a cover in a sheltered place. Additionally, the storage place should be off the ground to avoid trapping moisture which can cause rotting.
Aspen is low on smoke yield and creosote.
Aspen has low sap content, which results in minimal smoke production while burning. Therefore, the risk of creosote buildup is lower when using Aspen than softwoods such as pine.
Aspen firewood does not have as much heating power as you would expect hardwood to produce. In particular, these woods’ heat production varies depending on Aspen species, but the output is roughly 16.5 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per cord.
A man is splitting firewood.
Aspen is a light hardwood that is easy to split because of its low density. It also grows straight and has few branches, which means there are fewer knots in the wood. You can use a standard splitting axe to chop it into firewood.
Aspen has less sap than pine, so that it won’t stick to your axe.
A house with a smoky chimney.
Aspen woods have low sap content, particularly when completely dry and fully seasoned. The low levels of sap produce minimal smoke, implying less soot in your chimney.
Thus, comparing Aspen with other kindling sources, you will realize that Aspen is a good choice.
Hot charcoal grill.
Consider getting Aspen firewood if you want firewood producing good coal. While the wood itself may not burn for a long period like other hardwoods, the coals it generates retain heat well. It makes it simple to re-ignite a fire without having to start afresh.
Aspen wood produces an awful odor when it is still green. But if you burn it when it is dry, you will realize that it has little to smell.
Varieties of Aspen Firewood
Regarding aspens in North America, there are two main types: Quaking Aspen and Bigtooth Aspen. While other species of aspens are available in different parts of the world, this guide will focus on these two.
Autumn Aspen Trees.
Quaking Aspen also goes by Populus tremuloides, a deciduous tree that can grow up to 80 feet tall. Further, it features a smooth bark and is often called by other names such as:
- White poplar,
- Trembling Aspen
- Mountain aspen,
- American Aspen.
You will most likely find it in colder temperatures above 1500 feet elevation. Early pioneers often used it for log cabins because it’s easily accessible, easy to cut, and has straight logs.
A grove of Aspen Trees.
You can readily find it in southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, and it goes by the scientific name- Populus grandidentata. You can recognize it by its leaves, which are larger than Quaking Aspen leaves and have distinct teeth. That’s how it got its name.
It can reach up to 80 feet in height and has a trunk with a diameter of 8 to 10 inches. Depending on where it grows, other names for this tree include White poplar, Canadian poplar, and American Aspen.
Differentiating Dried Aspen from Green Aspen
Here are three main ways to identify dried Aspen from Green Aspen.
- When you dry Aspen wood properly, it appears yellowish or greenish-grey. But if it’s not dried properly, it can have a light orange or creamy white color. Usually, if you haven’t dried the wood correctly, it will look darker than the completely dry one.
- Another way to tell if the Aspen is dry is its sound when you knock two logs together. If it’s well-dried, it will make a loud, ringing noise. But if it’s not dried correctly, the sound will be dull.
- You can also tell how dry the Aspen is by looking at the moss on the bark. Rubbing your finger on the bark will turn into a cloud of green-tinted dust on well-dried wood.
Aspen Firewood Comparison to Other Woods
A forest of Aspen Trees.
Here is how Aspen firewood compares to other firewood trees.
|Firewood Type||Heat Yield in BTUs per cord||Ease of Splitting||Quality of Coals||Average Seasoning Duration||Overall Firewood Quality|
|Aspen||16.5||Easy||Good||Between 6 and 12 Months||Poor|
|Bur Oak||26.2||Easy||Good||2 Years +||Exemplary|
|Maple||25.5||Easy||Exemplary||Between 6 and 12 Months||Exemplary|
|Green Ash||20.0||Easy||Good||Between 6 and 12 Months||Exemplary|
Aspen may not be the best option for burning. However, it does have a unique property that can be beneficial in starting a fire. That’s all for today, and reach out to us for more.