How Long To Season Firewood?

When choosing firewood for burning, whether a log is properly seasoned or not can make a huge difference. But how long do you need to season a piece of wood before it is ready to be used? There are a lot of factors that are involved, ranging from the species you are dealing with, to the temperature, among others Let’s take a look.

The major factors involved in seasoning firewood include the firewood’s moisture content, its species, how recently it has been cut down, and the climate you live in. While some firewood like Birch and Russian Olive can be seasoned in less than a year, some like Oak and Chestnut can take up to 3 years to properly season.

firewood seasoning time with chart

How Long to Season Firewood?

The time it takes to season firewood involves a lot of variables. But if all the conditions are the same, then the time difference will largely depend on the species of wood you are dealing with.

Below is a table of different time frames for seasoning different species of wood.

Wood SpeciesSeasoning Time
Oak3-4 years
Sycamore2 years
Honey Locust1-1.5 years
Russian Olive1 year
Tamarack6-12 months
Fir6-12 months
Poplar9-12 months
Hackberry6-9 months
Cedar1-2 years
Leyland Cypress1.5-2 years
Black Locust6-8 months
Locust1.5-3 years
Lodgepole Pine6-12 months
Ponderosa6-12 months
Pine6-12 months
Basswood6-8 months
Horse Chestnut6-8 months
Douglas Fir6-12 months
Hemlock4-7 months
Chestnut2-3 years
Box Elder6-8 months
Tulip Poplar1-1.5 years
Dogwood1 year
Elm1-2 years
Bradford Pear1-1.5 years
Walnut1.5-2 years
Sugar Maple2 years
Red Maple1.5-2 years
Silver maple1.5 years
Maple1.5 years
Magnolia1.5 years
White Pine1 year
Juniper6 months
Cherry6-12 months
Spruce6-8 months
River Birch1-1.5 years
White Birch1 year
Birch1-1.5 years
Sassafras6-12 months
Mesquite6-9 months
Liquid Amber1 year
Catalpa8-12 months
Blue Gum2 years
Blackwood2 years
Alder6-8 months
Black Wattle1 year
Hickory1-1.5 years
Osage Orange2 years
Cottonwood6-12 months
Eucalyptus1.5-2 years
Redwood1 year
Weeping Willow1-2 years
Willow1-2 years
Mountain Ash8-12 months
White Ash8-12 months
Ash8-12 months
Crepe Myrtle8-12 months
Aspen6-12 months
Apple1-2 years
Beech2 years
Mulberry2 years
Firewood seasoning time chart

How to Test Firewood for Dryness?

There are a few ways you can check whether a piece of wood is ready for burning or not. if you are buying firewood, you can look for a Woodsure Ready to Burn logo. In case you are seasoning the wood by yourself, you can either use a moisture meter or test the dryness yourself.

To test the dryness, you should check the appearance of the wood first. Seasoned wood should be paler in color with some visible cracks. And the last test is the sound of tapping two wood pieces together. They should produce a clear knocking sound rather than a dull thud.

What is Seasoned Wood?

Sometimes people get confused when talking about seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is simply wood that has been properly dried to remove as much moisture as possible. While you can burn any firewood, it is recommended to use wood that has moisture content below 20%.

What Factors Should You Consider While Seasoning Firewood?

There are a lot of factors that can determine the time it takes for you to season firewood.

  • The first factor is of course is the moisture content of the wood you are dealing with. Freshly cut wood from a healthy tree will likely have a lot of moisture within it. It will take much longer for this wood to completely dry up.
  • On the other hand, if you choose firewood that has been cut from a dead tree, most likely it will already have lost a lot of its moisture. One thing to keep in mind is that a tree that has been dead for a long time may already be rotten, thus it has less heating value.
  • The other factor is humidity and temperature while seasoning the wood. If you live in a region with high humidity or low temperatures, it will take a lot of time to season the wood. In this case, try to season the wood in an empty room with dehumidifiers or heaters. Seasoning the wood in a place with a nice airflow during the spring or summer will give you the fastest results.
  • The third factor is the species of wood you are dealing with. Denser woods will take a longer time to dry but they will also produce the most amount of heat. For example, Quaking Aspen is a lighter species that will season much quicker when compared to White Oak.
  • The last factor is splitting the wood as soon as possible. It is recommended to split the wood into at least 2-4 pieces. This will let more air circulate within the wood thus it will dry quicker.

Why is it Recommended to Use Seasoned Firewood?

Seasoned wood produces less smoke, burns cleaner and hotter while also catching fire more quickly.

On the other hand, using unseasoned firewood will end up using a large portion of the energy stored inside the wood you are burning on evaporating the water first.

How to Season Firewood?

You can check this article for a detailed step-by-step guide to seasoning wood. Here is a small guide for seasoning your wood correctly.

The first step is finding the right spot for seasoning your wood. You can store the wood both in and outdoors, however, make sure the room you choose is properly protected from any rain, snow, etc.

If you are storing the wood indoors, make sure that the room is properly ventilated.

The next step is to split the woods into smaller pieces. The size will depend on your requirements and the size of your fireplace, stove, or log burner.

The last step is to properly stack the wood pieces. There are a few techniques you can use here. Ideally, you should use a couple of longer pieces to build a base to keep the air circulating and keep the wood being in direct contact with the ground. Keep the stack of woods only one to two blocks thick to keep the air circulating.

Keep the bark downwards to make the moisture evaporating process faster, with the end of logs towards the wind. Keep this stack of woods in an area that receives the most amount of sunlight.


It is very important to properly season firewood before using it. While the time it takes for wood to properly season can depend on a lot of factors, most species take about a year to properly season. Some species such as mulberry, hickory, locust firewood, and oak can take more than 2-3 years.

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