Wood Burning Guide

Wood Burning Guide

Here you can find a guide to the most well-known trees (UK) and we have given them a rating for their burning quality when used in a Woodburner or Log Fire.

Wood Burning Guide - which wood is best for logs?

When it comes to choosing the type of timber for your Wood burner or fire, we thought it would be helpful to know which trees make the best wood burning logs.

When using trees for firewood we recommend that all wood needs seasoning for at least a year or two, depending on moisture content. Aim for an ideal moisture content (measured) of 10-12%, or at least, less than 20%. For more details visit our page on Buying & Seasoning Logs.

Below we have created a tree-by-tree guide to describe and show the most well-known trees (UK) and given them rating for their burning quality.


Alder Tree

Alder is no good as firewood. Alder wood tends to burn quickly when fully seasoned and gives off little heat.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Apple Tree

Apple is extremely hard stuff once seasoned. Applewood burns with a gorgeous aroma and doesn’t spark or spit.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Ash Tree

Ash is one of the best woods for fuel. Produces lovely flames and great heat, even when green. Use branches for kindling.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Beech Tree

Beech is a very good firewood. Produces both heat and flame. It can sometimes give off a few sparks.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Birch Tree

Birch is good firewood producing a great fire but burns fairly quickly, even unseasoned. Can use the bark as kindling.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Blackthorn Tree

Blackthorn logs are usually small, but it burns slowly and gives off lots of heat with little smoke.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Cedar Tree

Cedar is not good on open fires as it spits and sparks. Lovely aroma. Needs long seasoning. Good heat if used in Woodburner.

Wood Burning Scale 2


Cherry Tree

Cherry needs to be well seasoned. Small logs but it burns slowly without spitting. Pleasant smell.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir isn't good as firewood. Produces little flame or heat and burns very quickly.

Wood Burning Scale 2


Elder Tree

Elder is smoky and a quick burner. Not much heat and not commonly used for firewood.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Elm Tree

Elm needs long seasoning time (2 years) due to huge water content. Good firewood, burns slowly, giving constant heat.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Eucalyptus Tree

Eucalyptus is not recommended as firewood. Burns very quickly, even when seasoned. Oils can start chimney fire.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Hawthorn Tree

Hawthorn is an excellent firewood as it burns hot and slowly. Even the smaller twigs are worth using.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Hazel Tree

Hazel makes very good firewood when well seasoned. No spitting, but burns quickly.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Holly Tree

Holly can make good firewood when seasoned for at least 2-years. Burns well.

Wood Bunring Scale 4


Hornbeam Tree

Hornbeam makes excellent firewood, producing a hot slow-burning fire. Tip: chop as required before seasoning as it is a very hard wood.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Horse Chestnut Tree

Horse Chestnut needs long seasoning. Good in a woodburner, not in open fire, lots of spitting but good flame and heat.

Wood Burning Scale 3


Larch Tree

Larch isn't that good as firewood due to tendency to spit. Has good heat output but produces an oily soot in chimneys.

Wood Burning Scale 2



Laurel produces a nice flame, but little heat. Needs seasoning but not ideal for firewood.

Wood Burning Scale 2


Lime Tree

Lime is a poor, low-quality wood for fuel with little flame. Not much good as firewood.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Maple Trees

Maple trees make a good quality firewood. Good flame and heat.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Oak Tree

Oak is excellent firewood. Burns slowly, gives plenty of heat. Oak needs long seasoning, 2 years at least, otherwise gives off an acrid smoke.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Pear Tree

Pear needs seasoning well. Good heat, as well as a gorgeous aroma.

Wood Burning scale 4


Pine Tree

Pine tree species have a nice flame and scent but they spit and leave an oily soot in your chimney.

Wood Burning Scale 2


Plum Tree

Plum tree is OK as firewood, has good heat output and nice scent.

Wood Burning Scale 3


Poplar Tree

Poplar makes poor quality firewood. Burns quickly so generally not worth the effort in cutting it up. Black smoke.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Rowan Tree

Rowan is a good firewood. Produces a good, hot, slow-burning fire.

Wood Burning Scale 4


Spruce Tree

Spruce is not a good firewood, burning too quickly and produces lots of sparks. Not recommended.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Sweet Chestnut Tree

Sweet Chestnut is not suitable for an open fire as it spits all the time. Needs seasoning but even then, burns quickly.

Wood Burning Scale 1


Sycamore Tree

Sycamore is a good firewood, burning well but produces only moderate heat. Needs long seasoning.

Wood Burning Scale 3


Walnut Tree

Walnut tree firewood burns well with a pleasant smell. Best after long seasoning e.g. 2 years.

Wood Burning Scale 3


Willow Tree

Willow burns slowly even when seasoned properly. However, little flame, can spark.

Wood Burning Scale 3


Yew Tree

Yew tree firewood is one of the best. It burns slowly and produces lots of heat.

Wood Burning Scale 5


Further reading

Now you've decided on your firewood, what you need is a proper Dorset Log Store to season the logs and keep them in tip top condition for burning.

For more hints and tips on using logs and how to make a fire burn for maximum efficiency visit Buying & Seasoning Logs.

© FlytesoFancy 2012. Updated 2024. Author: Anne Weymouth (Director, Flyte so Fancy). For more about who we are, see About Us.