Do you have a wood-burning fireplace or an insert? If so, you might want to think about the species of wood you are burning and how efficient it is. Not all firewood is created equal. In fact, some species of trees are able to produce much more heat per cord of wood. A cord is the amount of wood in a well-stacked woodpile measuring 4 feet wide by 8 feet long by 4 feet high.

Following are heat values (in million BTUs) per cord for various species of tree. The higher the value, the better the wood.


Ash, Green 22.8
Cottonwood 15.9
Elm, American 19.8 Difficult to split
Elm, Siberian 20.9 Difficult to split
Hackberry 21.0
Honeylocust 25.6
Locust, Black 28.3 Difficult to split
Maple, Sugar 24.0
Maple, Silver 18.9
Mulberry 25.3
Oak, Red 24.0
Oak, Bur 24.9
Oak, Post 25.6
Osage Orange 32.6 Sparks, do not use in open fireplace
Sycamore 19.5 Difficult to split
Walnut, Black 21.8

The Kansas Forest Service has a publication titled “Managing Your Woodland for Firewood” that is quite helpful. See http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf773.pdf.

Remember to obtain firewood locally. Emerald Ash Borer is now in Kansas because of transported wood.

If you have questions, please contact your local extension agent!

Lauren Fick is a horticulture agent for K-State Research and Extension Cottonwood District. Contact her at lfick@k-state.edu, in Hays at 785-628-9430 and in Great Bend at 620-793-1910.