When the cold weather arrives, it is important to choose high-quality and efficient firewood for kindling. Not all firewood is equally good, and every firewood has its pros and cons. In the case of cottonwood firewood, there are many aspects to understand before choosing in its favor. Such wood is highly popular, affordable, but also difficult to prepare for the kindling itself. Today we will explain how best to choose such firewood and what you should expect from them.
What is a cottonwood tree?
The cottonwood tree is a large tree that can grow to a height of 6 feet or more. It is a shade-tolerant tree due to its wide crown and powerful leaves. It is native to North America and southern Canada. Cottonwood is one of the fastest-growing trees, so it is very inexpensive to cut firewood. There is also a slightly different variety of cottonwood that grows in the southwestern United States and western Mexico. It is larger than the first species, so it will cost more.
Cottonwood is suitable for kindling a stove or fireplace
Cotton firewood is not really suitable for burning in a fireplace. In fact, using cottonwood firewood in a fireplace can even be dangerous because of the very strong sparks that can fly out of them as they burn. They also produce a lot of ash, which does not make it easy to use the wood in the fireplace. But there is a way to use such firewood in a fireplace and that is to season it properly. Green firewood gives sparks and smolders, but mature and dry, will burn well but burn quickly.
In the oven
Cottonwood is better for kindling the stove. But here it is important to properly season the wood so that it can give the amount of heat that is enough to heat the room. In addition, such firewood will cost much cheaper than other types, but it is worth considering that the heat output in the wood of cotton wood is small.
What flavor does cottonwood give off?
Cottonwood firewood emits an aroma that is very similar to the smell of popcorn. Therefore, this type of firewood can be used as an alternative for those who like scented firewood. However, it should be noted that such an aroma does not appear immediately, for this firewood will have to be properly seasoned.
If you use firewood immediately after sawing, be prepared for an unpleasant sewer odor. This smell comes from the fresh and sticky sap with which the leaves and branches of the tree are soaked. Some of the sap is also retained in the trunk, which makes itself felt after felling. Even when felling such a tree, loggers can feel the unpleasant smell.
The purity of cottonwood firewood
Even in its green state, cottonwood firewood will emit an unpleasant odor. In addition, the wood may be covered with sticky sap, which can cause bending when sawing or splitting the logs. To wipe such sap off the wood, you’ll need to use a lacquer remover. This will help remove the stickiness, and then the wood is laid to dry.
Does cottonwood cut well?
If you decide to cut your own wood and cut it down yourself, be prepared for a bad cut. Because green wood is very ductile and wet. It does not cut well, so it is better to cut it with an electric saw. If you have bought ready-made firewood, which turned out to be green, then it should be seasoned until it can be chopped with an axe without any problems.
How do I know if the cottonwood firewood is ready to be melted?
Cottonwood is ready for use when the wood begins to crack and split. When such wood dries out, it may completely change its appearance-but don’t worry! This does not mean that the quality of the wood has changed for the worse. It just means that after drying the wood will burn much better than before and it will be easy to split it into stakes.
How to season cottonwood firewood properly
If you want to use cottonwood as a fire source, it is important that the wood be properly seasoned. It must be dry inside and out so that water will not affect its burning properties. To do this, stack the wood on a dry surface, this can be a wooden underlayment or other covering. Do not stack firewood just on the bare ground. Then stack the firewood so that it will not crumble over time and cover the top with waterproof material.
Drying time for cottonwood firewood
If you bought a sawn cottonwood, you need to age it for 3 to 6 months. After 3 months they will stop giving off an unpleasant smell, and after 6 months they will burn much better and be chopped with an axe. If you have wood in the form of circular cuttings, it should be left to age for 1-2 years.
Efficiency and heat output cottonwood firewood
The heat output of firewood is quite low – BTU 16 million – cord. The density is 24 to 37 pounds.
Combustion quality of cottonwood firewood
Cottonwood firewood has good combustion qualities. Once the wood is well dried, it burns evenly and gives off enough heat to heat small rooms. But such firewood burns very quickly and leaves a lot of ash. If you take green cottonwood, it smolders and smokes a lot. This means that the creosote release will be increased. Therefore, it is important to season cottonwood firewood before kindling.
Creosote is the fine particles found in smoke. It is they stick to the chimney and over time clog it. Creosote very quickly adheres to the walls of the chimney and can get inside the room. In addition, such a substance is very easy to ignite.
The benefits of cottonwood firewood
The pros of cottonwood are quite substantial, so you can easily for yourself to make a choice in their favor, or not:
- Such wood is very popular, so it is quite inexpensive to buy firewood for heating;
- Easy to split and quick to ignite, if properly seasoned;
- Purity of combustion.
Disadvantages of cottonwood firewood
The disadvantages of cottonwood are the following properties:
- They ignite easily and burn quickly. Therefore, we recommend this type of firewood for heating a room rather than the whole house.
- Cottonwood also has another disadvantage – a strong creosote emission during combustion if the firewood is not properly seasoned;
- Unpleasant aroma of wood at first. It will not go away without seasoning;
- Long aging of firewood;
- Poorly cracked in the green state.