Is Locust Good Firewood?

Confusion often arises when discussing locust firewood due to the non-specification of species. There’s the black locust and honey locust among others. Of these many, the black locust is widely used for heating. Now, is locust good firewood? For the rest of this article, our reference to locust firewood will be about the black locust. So, are you looking to utilize this hardwood for heating? Read on for answers and tips.

Our discussion on locust firewood and how well it burns has touched on key aspects like varieties, common physical characteristics, the pros and cons of burning this fuel, and how it measures against other woods. Other things included are seasoning duration, smoke production, coal quality, impact on your chimney, split difficulty, and the verdict. Interesting right? Let’s begin right away.

Locust Wood Varieties

In discussing the burning efficiency of locust wood, it’s proper to begin with an introduction of the different varieties. As earlier stated, locust wood comes in several varieties. They include honey locust, shade master honey locust, black locust, frisia locust, umbraculifera, skyline honey locust, purple robe black locust, tortuosa, inermis locust, bristly locust, pyramidalis locust, and New Mexico locust.

There are more varieties like the imperial honey locust, as well as the skycole locust. As stated in the beginning, these might seem confusing, especially when nothing is said about the specific locust wood variety being discussed. To prevent any such confusion, this guide mainly focuses on black locust wood as it’s a popular variety used as fuel. That said, let’s get into key details.

Key Physical Attributes

What physical attributes do black locust trees have that make them easily distinguishable from other species? One of the primary features to look out for is the thorny leaves. You’ll often find thorns growing around points where leaves sprout. The tree’s alternate compound leaves also help with easy identification. Besides being a hardwood, black locusts are considered invasive tree species that can be difficult to control.

In spring, white-clustered blooms appear on black locust trees. These features, combined help with easy identification. They make the tree stand out from other locust varieties. This is the starting point for anyone looking to determine the quality of combustion of the black locust.

Pros and Cons of Using Locust Wood for Fuel

There are clear advantages and some disadvantages to burning locust wood. For the benefits, they include low smoke production. This makes it ideal for indoor use. However, it largely depends on whether the wood is properly seasoned. Well-seasoned wood is best used. Black locust wood has a longer burn time compared to other hardwoods, it’s also known for its high heat output.

On the other hand, there may be some disadvantages to using locust wood as fuel. Such may include the challenge posed by growing thorns which could be injurious. You’ll need protective gloves and other protective gear when working on this wood. Excess heat than required may be generated as this wood is known to have a high BTU. You may have to regulate by mixing with other firewood varieties.

How it Measures Against Other Woods

How does locust wood measure up against other hardwoods? In terms of combustive rate, this firewood tends to last longer due to its dense nature and hot coals which have longer burn times. Black locust is easily among the wood species with the highest BTU ratings. In other words, it generates a lot of heat and burns efficiently for longer. Detailed comparative analysis will require measuring key indices of locust woods and specific varieties like ash or beech woods.

Seasoning Duration

How long it takes to season a wood is crucial to overall selection. Some woods take shorter periods to season (typical with softwoods). These have been found to burn out quickly. However, denser varieties like hardwoods take longer to season. For locust wood, it will take anywhere from 6 months to a year to properly season.

Climatic conditions of an area play a role in determining how long it takes to season wood. Tips for speeding up seasoning time include suspending it from the ground on a rack or pallet and arranging it alternatively. You may also have it split into smaller pieces, providing adequate spacing, and also tarping it over to guard against moisture from rain or snow.

Smoke Production

Smoke production during combustion is analyzed to determine if a wood is good or not. Locust wood has low smoke emissions. Of course, this only applies to well-seasoned wood as only seasoned wood should be used for any form of heating. black locust trees are less smoky compared to other firewood species, thus placing them among the best wood fuels to have around.

Coal Quality

One of the characteristics of locust wood stated earlier is the coal quality produced from burning. Its excellent coals easily translate to longer heating periods long after the wood has been burned. It simply means your fire won’t go out throughout the night as long as you make the best use of your wood. Coals produced from burning this wood are arguably among the best of any firewood variety.

Impact on Your Chimney

Chimney lifespan and general conditions are influenced by the type of fuel used. For a wood stove or fireplace, fuels like locust wood will be considered highly efficient. That is because they produce less smoke than other types of wood. This translates to lesser creosote buildup. This, coupled with regular maintenance helps in the overall functioning of your chimney.

Split Difficulty

Wood splitting is one of the major considerations in choosing firewood. Now, locust wood is known to be mostly difficult to split. However, what it lacks in ease of split, it makes up for in burning efficiency. In other words, this is one of the best woods to burn. For some people, the difficulty in splitting this wood may be a dealbreaker. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the stress.

Is Locust Good Firewood?

In general, locust firewood is good due to several reasons like low smoke emissions, efficient combustion, high BTU, and excellent coal quality. You’re left to decide whether to go for it or not. The choice is yours.

Is locust good firewood? It is. We’ve seen several reasons why that is so. You should be able to use the information provided to get the best outcome for your home heating needs.