Cutting Down Backyard Trees: The Best Types of Wood for the Fireplace

Published: 05th April 2011
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After a bad storm or a hot, dry summer, some trees may be worse for the wear. They are be riddled with damage or dead branches and pose a risk to their surroundings. It could be time to pull out the chain saw and take them down before they come down on their own. One of the advantages to taking down a dead or heavily damaged tree in the back yard with a chain saw is that it may be used for other things. Burning it in the fireplace after it has been cut and seasoned is one popular option. Not all types of wood are ideal for indoor fireplace use. Hardwoods are best for this purpose. Cut up the trunk and heavier branches with chain saws to use for firewood. The smaller branches can be used for kindling wood. The rest can be run through a chipper and spread about the yard as mulch.

Maple wood produces high heat in the fireplace. Good for creating a warm and cozy fire, it has a pleasant aroma and is among the most popular types of hardwood for fires. Older maple trees require a lot of water and can suffer long-term effects in heavy drought conditions. Their branches grow long and are susceptible to storm damage from high winds or heavy snow accumulations, especially after a dry spell. They often live to old age before falling prey to Mother Nature. Thick tree trunks require a sturdy chain saw to cut through them and divide them into usable pieces. After proper seasoning, the results are well worth it. Long before a maple tree comes down, gather its dead branches for kindling.

Oak wood burns hot, but does not create excessive smoke. It works well for a nice warm fire on a cold winterís day. Oak trees are often tall with a high caliper branch by the time they are taken down by Mother Nature or the property ownerís chain saw. It is easy to cut, but often must be split or sawed down the middle into pieces that will both fit inside the fireplace and burn well.

There are many varieties of birch trees. Some of them make better firewood than others. They all tend to burn rather quickly and smoke more than maple or oak. Black birch and yellow birch burn longer in the fireplace than other birch varieties. The paper bark of birch trees works well to get a blaze going in the fireplace, but can be swept up by a swirl of wind on a blustery day. It takes a few years to season.

Ash trees are easy to take down and they season quickly, compared to most other hardwoods. Ash burns well and makes for a pleasant blaze in the fireplace. Once dried out, it splits easily. Larger pieces do not need a chain saw, but a light axe. Ash trees are a favorite among fireplace owners. Losing an ash tree in the back yard may be a sad event, but the land owner will feel better once itís used in the fireplace.

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