Does a Weeping Willow Make Good Firewood?

Is willow firewood good to burn? Does a weeping willow make good firewood? Yes, willow firewood can be burned, however, that does not mean it is the best choice of firewood to burn.

Willows trees grow fast and are easy to grow. They can grow in just a few years. The willow wood has its advantages but it also comes with some disapproval.

The wood from a willow tree is probably the least likely wood to be effective to burn in a fireplace. It gets a rating of Fair to poor in terms of burning it in a wood burning stove. It creates more creosote and less heat than most other kinds of wood that are more commonly used in a log burning stove.

If you are looking for a good wood to burn indoors, there are much better varieties than willow, such as birch, oak, or hard maple. Any properly seasoned hardwood will be fine in an outdoor firepit. Although you can burn willow wood outdoors, use it as a last resort.

Again, willows grow fast and they do well in wet situations, but will also grow in soil that is drier. They typically last about thirty years making their life span relatively short. Once they begin to deteriorate in their strength, they can lose limbs, split, or fall. If you experience a fallen willow tree, you can get rid of it by chopping it into firewood. They are easy to cut up into logs as they are a softwood. But just like most softwoods, they do not burn well.

Burning Wood Process

There are three things that take place when wood burns. First, any water that is still in the wood evaporates. Next, the tree chemically changes into gas, volatile liquids, and gas. Lastly, it will release carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as the charcoal burns. The configuration of wood will change the way in which this happens. Softwoods are absorbent and likely to keep the moisture. Oaks, being hardwoods are impenetrable and will not have much moisture.

BTU Rating

British Thermal Units or BTUs is how the amount of heat firewood releases into the air is measured. Willows have a low BTU, while hardwoods like an oak have a higher BTU rating. Again, they do not give off much heat as they tend to hold in the moisture. As the water evaporates, it takes the heat with it. So the heat escapes through the chimney along with gases, vapors and gases. The BTU rating for a seasoned cord of willow wood is about 17.6. In comparison, gamble oak seasoned has a BTU of 30.7.

Willow Dangers

Creosote is a combustible substance that builds up in the chimney and all wood will release it. If you do burn willow you will need to clean the chimney often as it could ignite. Softwoods like willow can take a couple of years or more to dry and become seasoned. If they are not completely seasoned, they will smolder and smoke rather than burn creating buildup of creosote inside the chimney.

Does a Weeping Willow Make Good Firewood?

Dry willow burns like paper so it can start a fire fast. The wood splits easily because of the soft texture. You can combine it with other firewood in your fireplace or just use it to start a fire that will keep going due to the hardwoods added.

Sap / Resin Content

All varieties of willows have large amounts of milky or watery bark sap. It is high in salicylic acid, a hormone from plants that helps the plant defend against pathogens. The sap that contains salicylic acid have been used to treat toothaches, pain or fevers.

You can burn willow that contains sap without being harmful, but the sap will create more smoke which means it has not been completely seasoned.

Willow Wood FAQs

How Long Before Willow Wood is Seasoned?

Wood from a willow tree takes a long time to become seasoned. Probably can take as long as two years. This is a lot longer than hardwoods, as willows are light and take longer to totally dry. It is possible that the wood from a willow will end up rotting before it dries out completely. It is recommended to spilt the willow first prior to storing to dry out.

Hardwoods that will season fast are oak, pecan, or mesquite. Burning wood outdoors that is moist, can give off ambers and sparks that can cause areas around the it to catch on fire. You should try to burn dry wood only, as it will smoke and pop less and burn more safely and efficiently.

How Much Smoke Will Willow Wood Produce?

It could not be a good idea to burn willow wood in your fireplace indoors if you have breathing issues, or allergies. However, if you burn it outdoors where the airflow is adequate it should be alright.

What Does Burning Willow Wood Smell Like?

The state university of Utah rated the willow wood’s scent as slight. Most people do not care for the scent of willow burning and some think it smells bad.

Red willow is a bit more pleasant, imparting a sweeter flavor on fish and meat when it is used for smoking.

Can You Burn Willow Wood in Your Fireplace?

You can burn weeping willow in a fireplace; however, it is preferable to burn it outdoors. It has long fibers and is thinner that other types of wood. It can also smoke a lot if not seasoned enough. Willow will also give off less heat, leaving your less warmth in your home.

Willow, like all woods should not be used as firewood if it has been treated with pesticide for insects. When you burn wood that has chemicals it can give off toxins that are harmful.

What Is Willow Wood Good For?

Willow wood is light in weight, has a good resistance to shock and is easy to cut. It is good to use for furniture and smaller wood items or whittling projects.

What animal eats a willow tree?

Moose, elk, or deer will likely eat on the stems of the tree. Animals that are smaller such as grouse and rabbits will feed from it as well.