This can be very confusing. With all the different types of woods available, it can feel impossible when trying to select the best types for ‘Yew’…you may even say ‘it’s difficult to ‘Cedar’ wood for the trees!’ ??

All wood types burn better when they have been ‘seasoned’. This simply means ‘dry’. If it is classed as ‘green’, it is ‘freshly cut or taken from a living tree’. The general rule is:- dry wood is good wood. However, if a fire is well built, most wood will burn even if it’s unseasoned.

The Good Wood Guide:




??? = Excellent
?? = Good
? = Fair
??? = Poor (it’s a lemon)


Tree Heat Burn Flame Other Information
Alder ??? Poor, does not last Quick burner
Apple ?? Good heat Slowly & steadily Little flame Pleasing scent. Gives lovely flavour to smoked foods
Ash ??? Brilliant heat provider Best flame producer Will burn when green. Small branches make great kindling
Beech ??? Brilliant heat provider, not as good as Ash Best flame producer, not as good as Ash Fair burn when green. May give a few sparks
Birch ?? Good heat quality Burns quickly Bright flame Pleasing scent. Bark makes excellent tinder even damp because of natural oils
Blackthorn ??? Good heat Burns slowly Little smoke. A hedgerow. Produces small logs
Cedar ?? Gives much heat Small flame Must be dry. Has snap and crackle. Beautiful scent. Makes a good cooking fire
Cherry ?? Good heat Slow burn Pleasant scent
Douglas Fir ??? Little heat Slow burner if well seasoned Little flame Produces sparks
Elder ??? Little heat Quick burn Plenty of smoke
Elm ? Constant heat One log put on before bed can keep a fire in until morning. Slow burner Unpredictable due to Dutch Elm disease. Can smoke violently. High moisture level
Hawthorn ??? Good heat Slow burner Little smoke. Hedgerow tree, small twigs worth using
Hazel ?? Good Burns quickly Good all-rounder. Small pieces make good kindling
Holly ? Good Quick burner if green Good when seasoned
Hornbeam ?? Brilliant heat provider, hot Slow burning Best flame producer, not as good as Ash Fair burn when green
Horse Chestnut ??? Good heat Good flame Spits a lot
Larch ??? Good heat if seasoned Crackly with nice scent
Laurel ? Brilliant flame
Lime??? Poor Poor Dull
Maple ?? Good Good Good Good quality firewood
Oak ??? Very old dry wood – excellent heat Very old dry wood – Slow burner Sparse Acrid smoke if new or damp. Produces very little ash
Pear ?? Good heat Pleasant scent
Pine ? Bright flame Pleasant scent. Crackles and spits. Good for keeping fire going in wet weather
Plane ? Burns reasonably well Throws sparks if very dry
Plum ?? Good heat Pleasant scent
Poplar ??? Little heat Slow burner Poor camp firewood
Rhododendron ? Good burner Thick, tough, old stems are best
Spruce ??? Quick burner Produces many sparks
Sycamore ?? Moderate heat Good flame Thin branches make good kindling
Walnut ? Fair Uncommon. Distinctive scent
Willow ? Quick burner Must be well seasoned
Yew ? Fierce heat Slow burner Dense, slow-growing. Pleasant scent. Can spit & spark on a campfire.


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