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- Sweetgum isn’t a popular firewood, primarily because it is hard to split and it only produces moderate heat, at 20.6 million BTU’s per cord
- It also burns fast, produces lots of ash, can smell bad when burning and some say that before the logs get burning, there can be a lot of smoke
- If you do have some lying around- make sure the wood is seasoned for at least 1 year before burning and store it under a tarp or roof because sweetgum tends to rot very fast when subjected to moisture
- It’s a firewood that people often use in the “shoulder seasons” when outside temperatures are more mild
- Try mixing it with other hardwoods if you’re looking for better overnight results
Sweetgum burns good when dry, like most other types of hardwood. However, sweetgum is hard to spit for firewood, which discourages many people from using it as a source of firewood. Besides, sweetgum does catch fire quickly, which is great.
It also burns very fast, providing a significant amount of heat but for not a long time. In this case, sweetgum wood might be inconvenient when you need fire for a whole night. Mixing sweetgum with other hardwoods will, however, give you better results.
How Many BTUs Does Sweetgum Generate?
Sweetgum can generate more than 20 million BTU from every cord, which is quite decent. Depending on your needs, it might be the best option, despite having a shorter burning time when compared with other woods, such as Oak.
How long sweetgum burns depends mainly on the amount of moisture contained in the wood at that particular time. Combining sweetgum wood with other woods such as Hickory and Oak is advisable to improve burning time.
Another great advantage of sweetgum wood is that you can easily start your fire. The resin content in sweetgum wood is quite high, which greatly contributes to this attribute.
Where Can You Find Sweetgum Wood?
Sweetgum is commonly found in Asia and North America. It thrives in temperate and humid environments. The tree develops beautiful foliage that turns from green into beautiful colors during fall. In some regions, it’s grown as an ornamental tree because of its unique reddish-brown color with sapwood nearly white and black grain running through it.
Properties of Sweetgum
Sweetgums trees tend to be large, and their palmate leaves range from three to seven lobes. While there are different species of sweetgum trees, they all produce male and female flowers of different shapes and colors. Its spiky dark brown fruits have small seeds and may still be intact past winter.
What Quality of Fire Does Sweetgum Provide?
Sweetgum burns fast and hot and creates a lot of ashes. When you throw a piece of sweetgum wood on the fire, you’ll probably notice heavy smoke in the beginning before igniting fully.
Mixing this wood with other hardwoods will offer you better fire and overnight results because the sweetgum burns quickly and has poor coaling capabilities.
How Easy Is It to Chop Up Sweetgum for Firewood?
Most people who dislike sweetgum complain about how hard it is to chop up or split its wood. Splitting it is unquestionably an inconvenient aspect when relying on it for firewood.
Also, when sweetgum wood dries out, it becomes more prone to warping. It makes cutting through even more difficult. If you want to have it easier when chopping sweetgum, do it when it’s still green.
The more your sweetgum wood dries up, the more it warps, and you might end up with no piece of wood or, worse, sore hands if you are using an axe.
Once you cut the tree, finish everything to save yourself future troubles. Furthermore, because splitting sweetgum wood is more like ripping and tearing apart, you might consider using a Hydraulic woodcutter.
You can, however, split your wood with a sharp axe. Begin with the outside edges and work your way around its perimeter until you reach the center. Avoid splitting the wood from the center and instead concentrate on the edges — it makes your work easier.
What Are The Sweetgum Varieties?
i. The Chinese sweetgum
This is a famous sweetgum type, Scientifically known as Liquidambar formosana. The Chinese sweetgum is commonly found in Eastern Asia. It is primarily found in mild temperate woodlands. During autumn, its three-lobed leaves will turn from green to yellow and red before falling off. The wood is perfect for producing tea chests.
ii. Turkish Sweetgum
The Turkish sweetgum is a native tree found in the eastern Mediterranean. The trees look like pure stands, mostly on The Greek island and The Southwest Turkey floodplains. The Turkish sweetgum, also known as Liquidambar Orientalis, is attractive thanks to its colorful season leaves.
iii. Liquidambar Acalycina
The Liquidambar Acalycina, often known as Chang’s gum, is majorly found in East Asia, notably Southeast China. This sweetgum is also available in The United States and Southern China. This middle-sized sweetgum can be described as deciduous, and its maple-like leaves tend to shed off during autumn after turning red from green.