Is Ash Good Firewood?

A common ornamental tree, ash (aka Fraxinus )  is a flowering plant belonging to the Oleaceae family. It is common worldwide, with varieties in the US, Europe, and Asia. Though it particularly holds weight in the US ecosystem.

Used commonly for tables and guitars, is ash good firewood?

Ash is one of the most widely used firewood to be found in the US. Even its poorer performing species produce a heat of 20 million BTUs per cord and will burn long enough to keep a fire going all night. 

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What Are The Varieties Of Ash

Ash is a genus of over 50 species, but some are better when used as firewood than overs. Two of the more popular ash varieties available in the US are:

What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Ash

Heat per cord (Million BTUs)20.7 – 25.6
Weight dry (lbs per cord)3006 – 3713
Weight green (lbs per cord)3825 – 4505
Seasoning time8-12 months
Resin / Sap contentMinimal
Splitting DifficultyEasy
Coal ProductionModerate
Creosote Build-upMinimal

Does its Wood Split Easily?

One of the most common misconceptions about ash is that it is difficult to split. This is because people often mistake ash for elm firewood, which is notoriously difficult to split. Ash, on the other hand, is considerably easier to split.

It has low moisture content and lower density, so the wood will not stick together or be stringy when you split it, allowing for a cleaner cut.

How Much Sap Does It Have?

Another mistake people make about ash is that it is full of sap, but it isn’t.

Ash is prone to infestation by beetles and insects. The particular species that are most attracted to ash like to produce a sticky, gloopy honeydew that sticks to the leaves and bark of ash.

Honeydew has a striking resemblance to sap, but the tree does not produce it naturally. If you find an ash tree that seems to produce excess sap, it is infected and will burn horribly.

How Does The Wood Smell?              

Some say that ash has a slight piney tinge to its scent, though mostly it is a neutral-smelling wood. It is not particularly unpleasant; it just will not produce any other smell than the typical smoke of burning wood.

Heat Output And Efficiency Of Ash

For its weight and density, ash has medium BTUs of any wood of its same weight, making it one great burning wood.

One of the most common ash varieties, green ash will generate a BTU of 24.4. It is not the best burning ash nor the worst, more a happy medium.

The best burning ash is white ash which has a BTU output of 25.6. The worst performing ash is black ash with a 20.7 BTU. That being said, even the worst burning ash has an impressive heat efficiency.

Fire Characteristics Of Ash

You will be able to get full use out of the heat that ash firewood produces as it burns for a substantial amount of time – long enough to heat up your home overnight. This is partly because ash makes enough coals to sustain its own fire and is dense enough to burn slowly.

However, it Is worth noting that the coals it produces are only good enough to keep its own fire going.

You will not have to worry about excessive smoke when burning ash. Its dry, low sap content means that it is a very clean-burning wood, producing next to no smoke throughout its entire burn.

Because of its natural dryness, ash can be burnt green if necessary, e.g., if you need to create an emergency campfire. Though to ensure minimal creosote build-up, stick to burning ash indoors once it has been fully seasoned.

Is It Okay To Burn Ash In A Fireplace?

When burnt, Ash creates very few sparks and a minimal amount of smoke, making it a very safe wood to burn in your fireplace.

Compared to other hardwoods, ash catches fire quickly enough though you may still want to burn a softwood along with ash to get a hot fire going sooner.

How Expensive Is Ash Firewood?

Seeing as it is such a common wood all across the US, you won’t have to break the bank buying ash firewood, though it is similarly priced to other common firewoods. The price per cord of split and seasoned ash can go up as high as 420USD.

How Long To Season Ash

Unlike many other hardwoods like oak, ash will only require 8-12 months to season before it is ready to burn fully. This is because despite being a dense wood, its moisture content is so low.

In fact, you can burn ash while it is still unseasoned without causing too much smoke. But like any other wood, it will perform better when seasoned.

Pros And Cons of Ash Wood


  • Very easy to prepare
  • Long burning time
  • Excellent heat efficiency


  • Hardly any smell
  • Can coal poorly
  • Prone to bug infections

How Does Ash Compare To Other Firewood?

Ash is often mistaken for elm, but they are two different kinds of wood in their own right. Elm is considerably harder to split, whereas ash has less sap and is easier to prepare.

The hottest burning elm (rock elm) will burn hotter than white ash at 26.8 BTUs. However, ash will burn for longer.

Compared to other hardwoods like oak, ash performs moderately well but does not burn as hot nor for as long. However, oak comes with its own problems, such as a substantially longer seasoning time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Ash Good For Stove Burning?

Yes, because ash produced minimal sparks and smoke, it is perfect for the stove.

Can I Use Ah To Smoke Meats?

Despite its poor smoke production, you can use ash to smoke meats as long as you smoke it while it is still green it will give it that smoky taste.

How To Tell Ash And Elm Apart

The secret to telling these two trees apart is in their leaves. Ash leaves have a more complex structure, growing opposite each other on the branch. Elm leaves are quite simple and clump together.


The next time you buy firewood, try some ash, and you will not be disappointed. Its heat will keep your home warm all night and will not contribute much to your fireplace’s creosote build-up.

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