A Quick Guide to Firewood: Beech and Box Elder

Beech Wood

Firewood. If you live in an area with a cold, snowy climate, the firewood is one of your main lines of defence against the bitter cold. However, many people still don't realise the importance of knowing about firewood types. These people do away with learning about the different tree species in their areas, robbing themselves of a wealth of valuable knowledge. After all, if you use firewood on a regular basis, it pays to know how firewood works.

Many people incorrectly assume that any type of wood can be used as firewood. We don't make the same assumption for fish: We know some type of fish are inedible and even poisonous. The same concept can be applied to firewood. Wood burns. It is its nature. Exposed to fire, the wood will burn into ash. However, not all wood burn the same. Some types of wood burn brighter and hotter than others. Some, on the other hand, tree species are poisonous, and burning its wood can release the dangerous toxins.

A person who doesn't bother to learn how to differentiate firewood is like a fisherman who can't tell one kind of fish from another. This is important especially if you make your own firewood, whether by hand or with a log splitter.

You might be surprised to know that there are over sixty thousand tree species in the world. One species is definitely different from another, even those within the same family or genus. The same variations that make poplar trees different from the birch also influence the way the wood reacts to fire. Some wood types burn fast and hot, while other species can burn for a long time at low temperatures.

People who live in northern areas or cold climates often use firewood for cooking and heating. Understanding the differences between the wood species endemic to your area can help you build better and hotter fires at a lower cost. Not only will you be able to burn better wood, you will also save money in the process.

Here are the profiles of three of the most popular tree species. I hope this guide can help you choose the right type of wood for you.


The beech (Fagus) is a type of deciduous tree native to North America, Europe and Asia, with close relatives in Australia & Oceania and South America. There are at least ten species within the beech family. The East Asian beech, unlike other members of the beech family, tend to have low-hanging branches. The most common type of beech is the European beech.

The beech is quite hardy as it can grow in a wide variety of soil types, whether basic or acidic, as long as the soil isn't waterlogged. Beech is quite easy to identify due to its unique bark. Some people have likened the bark of beech trees to elephant skin, that is, the surface is smooth and coloured grey.

The beech is oval in form with distinctive dense branching, In forests, the branches tend to move upwards, while beech trees in open areas often feature branches that droop closer to the ground.

Beech is a generally good firewood type since it provides above average heating value. It should be regarded as a desirable type of firewood. However, beech wood can be difficult to split, especially with an axe. You may have to use a log splitter to process beech wood.


Box elder is a species of maple common throughout the North American continent. It can also be found in the British Isles, Continental Europe, China and Australia, where it is considered as a pest invasive species. The box elder is also known as maple ash and ashleaf maple.

The box elder grows fast but has a short lifespan. It can grow up to 80 feet tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 50 centimetres wide. The tree grows in open areas with lots of water and sunlight.

Box elder wood is often considered unacceptable for most uses, including for firewood. The wood easily breaks and attracts pests. As a general rule, box elder wood makes for very poor firewood. It burns too fast and does not produce good coals. You will find yourself constantly adding wood to the fire just to sustain it. Stay away from box elder firewood unless there's literally nothing else better.

Similar Articles

8HP Wood Chipper -Raptor900

Landscaping, gardening professionals and homeowners rely on high-quality tools and machinery to perform landscaping and gardening work. These machines and tools are able to save people money and time

log splitter safety

Many people, especially those who live in places with cold climates, rely on firewood for heating and cooking. You can only do so much with manual tools such as axes. If you need to make a lot of firewood in a short span of time, then you need to use a log splitter.

Wood Chipper Safety

Wood chippers are lawn care machines used for turning organic into tiny bits and pieces. This machine is often used for clearing a large area of wooden debris such as fallen tree limbs and branches that is the common result of plant disease, neglect and adverse weather events.

wood chipper safety

If you've seen what a wood chipper can do to a branch or even a small trunk, then you know why it's incredibly important to take safety precautions seriously when operating these machines.


Most people do not bother to familiarise themselves about the tree species in their area and nor are they striving to learn about the many firewood types. This is a huge mistake, especially if you regularly use firewood and use a log splitter to make them

When you have and maintain a home garden that will help you produce fresh veggies and fruit without any unknown chemicals. Even though, the home garden could take on many forms, from several plants in containers to large plots in the backyard.

The Spruce

In order to keep your garden in perfect shape, you need to protect it against soil erosion that results from exposure to the elements. This can be done with geomats, synthetic fiber materials designed specifically for this purpose.

brush cutter

There’s always something needed to be done in your backyard or garden. Most landscaping work only requires a whipper snipper or a lawnmower to cut unwanted grass and small plants down.

1000lbs Towed Poly Dump Cart by Plant Craft

Dump carts are a handy tool for hauling heavy material in bulk such as wood, earth, saplings, and tools across large distances. Carts help people avoid the tedious work of making multiple trips transporting material with a small capacity wheelbarrow.