VentFree is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
- Alder is a decent firewood- on the plus side, seasoned alder wood will burn hot and create some decent coals for overnight heating
- This straight grained wood is easy to split (watch out for your clothes staining orange when wet) but because it’s pretty soft it will burn fast
- People like in firepits and hearths because it smells great
- Make sure it’s seasoned because wet alder will smoke a ton and leave over a bunch of ash- stack it off the ground so the bottom layer doesn’t decay
- It’s often used in fireplaces and stoves during the spring and fall months when it’s not that cold outside
- Try mixing it with denser hardwoods like beech, maple or oak
Alder is an average source of firewood. It is quick in burning and simultaneously supplies heat to a room faster. It is a low-density hardwood, which implies that most of its characteristics might look more like that of softwoods than of hardwoods.
Is alder good firewood? Below a tghe facts you need to know concerning using alder as firewood.
It has a lower heat output when compared to hardwoods such as beech and oak. It belongs to the birch family and is a deciduous tree. It has two main species:
- Red alder is found in Northern America, mostly on the west coast.
- Black alder, which is native to Europe.
When burnt, alder turns to excellent coals, which are vital in cooking. It also produces a sweet smell when burning, and it’s among the hardwoods easier to split. It seasons within a brief period.
Alder is a source of about 17.5 million heat BTUs per cord. BTU is the standard unit of firewood measurement, measuring only volume. It is easy to light and burns fast and hot like softwood, making it less reliable during periods of extreme cold.
What are its smoke properties?
When properly seasoned, alder produces only a small amount of smoke. On the other hand, if it is burned wet, it gives rise to a huge volume of smoke and leaves behind a lot of extra ash.
The production of creosote is mainly linked to the smoke quantity, the number of unburnt particles. These bind themselves to chimney walls creating layers known as creosote in the process.
When it has been properly seasoned, alder produces little of either property, so it is vital to ensure it has been properly seasoned.
It is advisable to clean your chimney before fall to remove the existing creosote. The buildup of excess creosote might cause the chimney to get narrow, which might end up leading to a house or chimney fire.
Always remember that creosote is flammable.
Take some precautions when you are burning alder indoors, for it has been known to produce sparks, though at a moderate amount.
When burning, alder produces a fragrance that is very nice indoors, making campfires a very enjoyable feat. Due to its characteristic aroma, it gets great use in smoking foods, most importantly meat.
It gives rise to great coals. Though the quality of coals is barely comparable to high-density hardwoods such as oak, it still produces an impressive performance.
When compared to, for example, sweetgum, alder is not hard to split. It has a low density and straight grain. It takes its big logs a longer time to dry up, and it decays at a relatively fast rate, so you need to split it as soon as possible after cutting it down.
Alder is quick in losing moisture due to its thin bark. To prevent its decay, you should stack it above the ground level. Therefore, you should split it immediately after cutting and then stack it in racks raised above the ground and provide the firewood with proper aeration.
Identification of alder trees
About 35 species of alder are available, but black and red are the two most common species, and they are native to Europe and North America, respectively. The alder tree produces long conical flowers called catkins, and it mostly grows to heights of between 60 and 70 feet, living up to a hundred years.
It grows mostly in moist environments, mostly around water bodies. Its roots grip the soil, helping to prevent soil erosion. The roots also have root nodules with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that incorporate aerial nitrogen into the ground, increasing fertility.
Alder trees are a type of birch tree that is found in North America and Europe. They are a deciduous tree, which means they lose their leaves in the winter. Alder trees are mostly known for their sweet smell when burning and for being easy to split. They also produce a lot of heat when burned. Alder trees are a great choice for wood burning, but it is important to make sure the wood is properly seasoned before burning.