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Is Willow tree wood good for burning in a wood stove?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Cage116, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Cage116

    Cage116 ArboristSite Operative

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    I have several huge willow trees on my property that i am planning on cutting down. There is going to be a huge amount of wood from these. Since i currently have no firewood stored i was thinking i could burn it in my wood stove. My question for you guys is this : Are there any reasons for not burning willow in a woodstove ? Does it burn good and are there any potential problems for my chimney? Thank you for any help you can offer.
     
  2. Hedgerow

    Hedgerow HACK

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    Willow is pretty poor wood, but it'll burn if you have to cut it up anyway. Are the trees still alive? If so, even if you cut it today and split it, it won't be good and dry by November. You may have issues with creosote build up in your chimney.
     
  3. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

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    Like hedgerow said, its poor wood for any lasting fire, but if you have to dispose of it anyway, why not recycle it and get some heat out of it?

    If you are cutting them down anyway, then its probably going to be a whole lot easier to stack it up and burn it in the stove rather than haul it away somewhere and have to pay dump fees. Besides, as any wood scrounge will tell you, and free firewood is good firewood.Just some is better than others.
     
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  4. atlarge54

    atlarge54 AboristSite Guru

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    I'm not much of a wood snob, I've got a pile of cottonwood at the OWB right now. Willow is really poor burning wood and it can be a bear to split even with a hydraulic splitter since it can be really gnarly.

    Personally I'd probably turn down a big willow even if it was free and close.
     
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  5. Cage116

    Cage116 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanx Guys for your responses so quickly. I agree I do not really like burning willow but its only about 50 feet from my woodshed..I do not know what to do with it anyway if i wasnt planning on burning it... the trees are about 4 feet DBH
     
  6. Hedgerow

    Hedgerow HACK

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    I've cut a little Willow, And I always split everything right away... I'll have to say, Willow gives up it's moisture fast, but the OP is in New York, and I would be concerned it just doesn't have time to "Give up enough" moisture to burn properly. Personally, I'd burn it anyway, but I'm also anal about "How" I burn certain woods, and check my flu habitually...
     
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  7. Hedgerow

    Hedgerow HACK

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    Wow... Those are dandy's... How quick can you get em' down and split up? You're correct, it would be wasteful not to use them...
     
  8. Cage116

    Cage116 ArboristSite Operative

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    Yeah they are huge My plan is to have em down within the next 2 weeks they may not be good for burning this year but probably next year. I hate to waste them. Gonna have to call in a few favors with my buds to get soem help dealing with these monsters...
     
  9. russhd1997

    russhd1997 Innocent By Stander

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    I have burned some willow in my OWB and I think that it is worse than pine. Mix some good hardwood with it and you might get some burn time out of it. I wouldn't rely on it as your only variety of firewood.
     
  10. turnkey4099

    turnkey4099 Tree Freak

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    From someone who heated his house with Willow almost 100% for 30 years.

    If your trees are like those around here (and it sounds likeit by the size) it makes _fair_ firewood. As with all wood, a pound of Willow has approximately the same BTUs in it as a pound of Oak...or Hedge...or Locust. The problem is you have to stuff the stove (or OWB) about twice or more as often. It will hold a fire overnight if the drafts are shut down - won't put out a lot of heat but there will be enough there to get a roarign fire going in no time in the morning.

    Splitting - very easy except for knots/crotches.

    Would I burn Willow if better stuff was available? No. But if I had to remove a tree I for sure would be using the wood. I'm currently burning 100% Black Locust - the locust borere is killing all of them.

    Somethings not mentioned

    Willow makes very good charcoal.

    Willow is a good wood to use for smoking meat. The community "sausage feed" types use only Willow for that here.

    Harry K
     
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  11. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    I agree. Willow is easy to split, and I do all my splitting with a splitting maul. I burned it last winter. It did fine. I mixed it with maple or Doug-fir. I don't try to keep a fire going all the time because my house gets too warm and that is a waste of wood.

    My willow came from a tree I felled and since it was here, I used it in the stove. By the way, the stump will sprout. I found out that the deer like to munch on the sprouts and they seem to leave other things alone. So I have a willow bush for the deer now.
     
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  12. Stephen C.

    Stephen C. Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You must have a different variety of willow than what we have here in central Michigan. I have burried 4 wedges an axe and a splitting mall in rounds only 14-16 inches in diameter and then had to use a sledge to pound the wedges almost the entire length of the round before I could get it apart. :eek2:

    I hope the OP posts and tells us how the willow in his part of the country splits.:hmm3grin2orange::hmm3grin2orange:
     
  13. SPDRMNKY

    SPDRMNKY ArboristSite Dork

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    a couple of the willows here in KS (black & peach-leaved) are touted as "...light and does not splinter easily, which makes it excellent for toys, crates, and barn floors."

    thanks H.A. Stephens!

    if you're handy with a rasp and chisel, might give it a shot with the odd length pieces/chunks
     
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  14. turnkey4099

    turnkey4099 Tree Freak

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    That description fits my experience with cottonwood to a "T". I did one and swore I would never touch another one.

    Harry K
     
  15. mooseracing

    mooseracing ArboristSite Operative

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    I've had best luck with it when really dry or during winter when it is frozen. I split about 2 cords by hand this last late winter and it only took about one whack to split. BTW this is MI willow.
     
  16. mayhem100

    mayhem100 AboristSite Guru

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    Willow burns ok. Its a good shoulder season wood to use when you need to get the stove warm and take the chill out of the air, but I wouldn't want to use it to heat my house in January. Splitting can be easy or hard, depending on the piece you're working on. I've had 16" diameter rounds about 20" long that split wide open like ash on the first hit...I've also had a 6" diameter piece from the same tree that was about as stringy as elm.

    Very stinky the first month after you split it, but it does dry fairly rapidly...its a very wet wood though.

    If you have easy access and its free, have at it, but I wouldn't give up a maple score for willow.
     
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  17. 00 steve

    00 steve ArboristSite Operative

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    As long as it is coming down anyway, burn it. It isn't anything I would go out of my way for.
     
  18. zogger

    zogger Tree Freak

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    I burn it

    My generic rule of thumb is if I have to touch it, I burn it. I burn every species here. Got a lot of willow down in the swamp pastures and if branches fall off of them where I have to mow, I buck them up, split them, and they get mixed into the pile.

    Fifty feet from your woodshed? Cut it split it stack it, but be sure to get other wood as well. That tree might last you several years for fast morning wood and for "shoulder season" wood.

    I look at the wood piles areas. Do I want to see cut and split stacked there, no matter what it is, or *air*? I have the space and the opportunity, so I am the anti wood snob. If all I had was a tiny lot with very little room and had to go drive miles and miles to go get wood, no, I'd go for the better species gusto. But free right at your house, sure, you can burn it, it is just not much heat per cubic volume. Wood has similar heat/ BTUs per *dry seasoned weight* though. A ton of dry willow got similar BTUs to a ton of oak. By the cord, no, by the ton, yes.
     
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  19. Cage116

    Cage116 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks Guys for all the response. I feeel better about burning it now inside. Its really close to my woodpile and i think it will make decent wood just gonna be a bunch of work to process it... Looks like the MS 441 is gonna earn her keep on this job.....:cool2:
     
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  20. PhilMcWoody

    PhilMcWoody Dog, Wood, Go

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    Or sell it to a cricket bat company!

    http://www.cricketbatwillow.com

    http://www.cricketbatwillow.com/trees-wanted

    OK might have to find a bat maker in the US, but sooner or later ...

    Cricket Bat Willow
    The trees used in the manufacture of cricket bats is the Salix Alba Caerulea (Cricket Bat Willow). This type of willow is very fast growing with a single straight stem. It also has slightly larger leaves than normal white willow, being 10 to 11cm long and 1.5 to 2cm wide. The leaves are also a more blue-green in colour.
     

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