Black Locust as firewood- How good is Black Locust as Firewood?

Your choice of firewood determines its heat efficiency. Arguably, black locust is the best firewood for long-lasting heat, high-quality coals, and minimal smoke. Read on to learn more about using Black Locust as firewood

What is Black Locust?

Pseudo acacia (black locust) trees

Black Locust is a heavy and highly dense hardwood growing mainly as a native to Northern America, Northern Africa, and Asia. The wood is moderately difficult to split and has low moisture content.

People use black locust wood as lumber and firewood. Also, you can make fencing posts from black locusts, and the fence can stand for over 80 years without weakening.

Black locust grows into large-sized or medium tree, which can grow to about 70 to 80 feet high.

What are the Burn Qualities of Black Locusts? 

A fire in a fireplace

  • Heat Production

Black Locust has a BTU of 29.8 million per cord. Black Locust produces the most heat and minimal smoke compared to other firewood and hardwood. Osage-Orange is the only firewood that can compare to Black Locust regarding heat output. However, Osage-Orange is a rare wood in most parts of the world.

  • Smoke Production

Most hardwood produces a low amount of smoke, and Black Locust can’t miss the list. Also, Black Locust firewood produces very few sparks so you can burn it outdoors and indoors. However, firewood is not a good choice for roasting meat because it produces a fragrance and may not add much flavor to the food.   

  • Seasoning Time

Like most hardwood, Black Locust needs some seasoning time. Experienced woodworkers claim that green Black Locust is about 28%, and you need to reduce this percentage to about 20% to make it seasoned. 

Seasoning may take about 2 to 3 years. However, some users allow Black Locust to the season for only 6 to 8 months. 

  • Burning Smell

Black Locust has a faint and pleasant burning smell. 

  • Creosote Buildup

Black Locust is among the popular firewood with low resin and sap. Besides, sap production with Black Locust is lower if you harvest your firewood in early winter or fall. 

  • Splitting

Black Locust has a tight grain, and its tendency to grow so fast causes more grain tension than other firewood. Consequently, most people find it difficult to split Black Locust wood. 

5 Easy Ways to Identify Black Locust

Black locust Branch with white flowers

Black locust Branch with white flowers

  • By the Thorns

If you look at a live Black Locust tree or a recently cut branch, you will notice pairs of thorns protruding near the points from which the leaves sprout. These thorns are sharp and can injure your hand if you are not careful when touching the tree. 

  • By the leaf

Black Locust trees have alternate-compound leaves sprouting down the branches in left-right-left patterns. The compound leaves have 9 to 19 leaflets growing from the same bud.

  • The Color

Live or freshly cut Black Locust trees have a distinct yellowish-brown color. Dry logs may not have this yellowish color at all. 

  • Flowers

Black Locust is a flowery tree. Its flowers usually open in May or June and sprout for about 1 to 2 weeks before drying up. The flowers produce a distinct fragrance with an attractive cream color with a yellow center. In some instances, the flowers can have a purple or pink color.   

  • Fruit

Black Locust fruits grow as seed pods and appear in autumn until spring. The pods are smooth and flat, resembling giant pods. The fruits can be between 2 to 4 inches long.  

Black Locust vs. Honey Locust

A mature Black Locust tree

A mature Black Locust tree

Like most other trees, Black Locust’s close relatives are Honey Locust. Some people find it difficult to tell the Black Locust and Honey Locust apart since the two are great firewood and have similar qualities. 

Black Locust burns slightly hotter than Honey Locust. Most woodworkers prefer working with Honey Locusts over Black Locusts because the former is easier to split. When burning, Honey Locust produces a more pungent smell than Black Locust. However, the smell is not distinctly sharp, and some people may find it pleasant. 

Comparison to Other Woods

A Black Locust tree

A Black Locust tree

The table below will help you learn more about how Black Locust compares to other woods. 

Wood Coals Splitting BTUsGeneral Quality  
Black Locust Excellent Difficult 27.9 20.0 Excellent 
Bur Oak Good Easy 26.2 Excellent 
MapleExcellent Easy 25.5Excellent 
Green Ash Good Easy20.0Excellent 

If you noticed, Black Locust firewood presents excellent results in almost every category compared to other woods. However, Black Locust is difficult to split, the only category where the wood failed to excel. 


Now that you have the information about Black Locust, you can make better-informed decisions whenever you want to use Black Locust firewood. In the case of splitting, you may need more sophisticated tools to help you easily split Black Locust wood. For more, reach out to us anytime.