Winter is the season of cold, snow, ice, and the welcome warmth of a crackling fire. There is nothing better than playing outside in the freezing cold and then coming inside to drink cocoa and warm up by the fireplace. If you’re still in the market for firewood, now is an excellent time to educate yourself about your options. While seasoned wood is a must, you still need to choose between hardwoods and softwoods. Here’s what you should know.
Firewood Basics: What Are Hardwoods?
Hardwoods are mostly comprised of the deciduous trees you will find in this country. They tend to have broad leaves, they often bear nuts or fruits, and they go dormant in the winter. Hardwood species include oak, ash, cherry, maple, birch, alder, sycamore, and others. Generally speaking, hardwoods tend to be preferred for firewood.
Firewood Basics: What Are Softwoods?
If your deciduous trees are your hardwoods, by process of elimination, your conifers are your softwoods. These include fir, pine, spruce, cedar, hemlock, cypress, and others. These trees have needles instead of broad leaves, have cones with seeds rather than nuts or fruits, and do not go dormant in the winter.
Which Is The Best For Firewood?
Both types of wood have pros and cons in terms of becoming firewood, but, generally, hardwoods are the better choice. The biggest con to hardwoods is that they take longer to properly season, averaging 1-2 years rather than six months to a year. This doesn’t apply to kiln-dried wood, however, since that is a much faster process. If you are purchasing already seasoned wood, this also is likely not a consideration for you. Aside from that, there is no downside to hardwoods. They provide a lot of heat and very little smoke, and they burn for a long time. By contrast, softwoods tend to be sappier, creating lots of smoke, and they don’t burn as hot or for as long as hardwoods. However, softwoods do season more quickly, so if you’re seasoning your own wood in your firewood storage area, that may be a more important factor. For most people, the longer burn time – meaning you can save money by needing less wood – and the hotter burn temperature make hardwoods the clear choice. Finally, if you’re burning the wood inside, hardwood should be your only choice – softwoods just produce too much smoke.
Questions? Lehnhoff’s Supply is Here to Help
If you still have more questions about how to best prepare your landscape or garden for summer and fall, the trained professionals at Lehnhoff’s Supply are here to help you. Find us at 2708 Belair Road, Fallston, MD 21047 and give us a call at 410-510-7646. For tips, tricks, and to see what we have been up to, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
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