Black wattle is native to Australia but is also one of the most common trees in South Africa. In the rest of the world, it is considered an invasive species. It is a blooming tree that belongs to the Fabaceae family, able to bloom its spring flowers even in the harshest conditions.
So, if you find an unwanted black wattle growing in your garden, is it worth using as firewood?
Black wattle is fair firewood. It is nothing special really, producing a decent amount of heat that can last you through the evening. It is not as common in the US as in other parts of the world, but if you do have a black wattle on hand then it is worth burning.
What Are The Varieties Of Black Wattle
More commonly known as acacia mearnsii, black wattle does not have any noticeable nor distinguishable varieties of itself. However, it is sometimes called green wattle of late black wattle.
What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Black Wattle
|Heat per cord (Million BTUs)|
|Weight dry (lbs per cord)|
|Weight green (lbs per cord)|
|Seasoning time||12 months|
|Resin / Sap content||Little|
Does its Wood Split Easily?
Despite being a very dense wood, the black wattle does split fairly easily considering that you split it while it is still green. It is such dense and hardwood that if you try to split it after it has been seasoned, the black wattle will most likely just blunt your ax rather than fall apart.
How Much Sap Does It Have?
It is the beautiful spring blooms of a black wattle that makes it such a desirable ornamental tree in the US, even if it can be invasive if not properly kept.
These blooms are full of pollen, acting as key players in the local bee cycle. However, the tree itself is not as full of sap as would be expected.
It is still better to harvest black wattle firewood during the summer and autumn months before it has had time to prepare sap for next spring.
How Does The Wood Smell?
Both a positive and a negative characteristic, black wattle has no distinguishable smell when seasoned or green.
If you want wood that will make your home smell great, try burning pine or sugar maple.
Heat Output And Efficiency Of Black Wattle
Black wattle is not particularly spectacular in the heat that it provides.
As a hardwood, it does produce a moderate amount of heat and will keep your home warm for a few hours. It will burn much hotter than softwood, but not as well as high-quality hardwoods like oak or hickory.
Fire Characteristics Of Black Wattle
The main advantage of using black wattle is its density. It is a tree that takes a very long time to grow, so its wood has plenty of time to thicken and become very dense.
This means that it has the ability to burn for hours on end. Though you will only really start to feel the heat from black wattle fire once it has had time to produce coals.
As for how it burns, the black wattle is a clean-burning wood. Despite its blooming abilities, having such a low sap content means that it will not smoke nor create a noticeable build-up of creosote.
Is It Okay To Burn Black Wattle In A Fireplace?
Black wattle is a good wood to burn in an open fireplace and a log burner.
Its efficient burning qualities mean that you will get a moderately heated fire that can last you through the evening.
Because it mostly produces coals, there will be very little ash to clean up once a black wattle fire has burnt out. You will also not have to worry about excessive sparking as its sap content is so low.
What is worth noting is that black wattle takes a while to get hot. Though it ignites easily enough, it will not reach its peak heat output until it has created enough hot coals.
You may want to mix black wattle in with some softwood or some lighter hardwood if you are in desperate need of heat.
How Long To Season Black Wattle
For a hardwood, black wattle does not take long to season. It can be ready to burn in as little as 12 months.
Considering that black wattle is extremely dense, this is impressive. However, you will want to make sure to split the wood into small enough pieces so that it can thoroughly dry.
Pros And Cons of Black Wattle Wood
- Easy to process
- Moderate heat output
- Little creosote build-up
- Not particularly common
- Neutral smell
- Takes a while to warm up
How Does Black Wattle Compare To Other Firewood?
Compared to other hardwoods like oak, the black wattle is not anything to shout home about.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Black Wattle Sustainable?
In areas where black wattle is considered an invasive species, it is sustainable. As it is not native to the US, it will not damage the environmental balance if removed.
Can I Burn Black Wattle On A Campfire?
If you need a quick, fast campfire, then black wattle is not your best choice. It will take long time to start a fire, especially when green. At the same time, it takes a long time to burn out, which can be a downside if you do not have time to wait it out or the water at hand to put the fire out.
All in all, the black wattle is worth a burn if you have access to it but is not worth using over more respectable and common hardwoods like hickory or maple.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.