Is Silver Maple Good Firewood?

Commonly used in landscaping due to its significantly fast-growing nature, silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is an important food source for forests-based wildlife. It is a tree that can live up to 130 years old but has fairly brittle wood so doesn’t always make it to old age. How does this brittle wood fair for use as firewood?

Silver maple makes for moderate-quality firewood. With a BTU generation of 20.1, it can generate enough heat to warm your home overnight. It does not produce much smoke or sparks, so it is a fairly safe choice of firewood to heat your home.

is silver maple good as firewood

What Are The Varieties Of Silver Maple Wood?

Silver maple is already a variety of maple wood, so does not have any varieties of its own. It does go by many names, though, such as:

  • Creek maple
  • Silver leaf maple
  • Soft maple
  • White maple

What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Silver Maple Wood?

Namesilver maple
Heat per cord (Million BTUs)20.1
Weight dry (lbs per cord)2197
Weight green (lbs per cord)3825
Seasoning time18 months
Resin/ Sap ContentLow
Splitting DifficultyVery Easy
Coal ProductionAverage
Creosote Build-upLittle

Is Silver Maple Easy To Split?

As one of the softest maple varieties as firewood, silver maple is very easy to split. Though it can become tough once seasoned, so make sure you split it while it is still green wood.

In some cases, silver maple can become very brittle and can splinter off while splitting, so make sure you take safety precautions.

Sap Content

Out of all the best maple spices to burn, silver maple carries very little sap. The low levels of sap that it does carry are not sweet nor desirable.

What Does it Smell Like?

The sap that silver maple creates is not as high in sugar as other maple varieties. So, the smell that it produces when burnt is pretty bland and neutral.

That is not to say that silver maple smells bad, but more so that it does not have much of a smell. If you have a sensitive nose then it may smell a little sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.

Moisture Levels

Maple tends to have a higher moisture level than other woods but dries out quickly enough that it does not become an issue when burning. Silver maple is no different.

It can tolerate a range of environments, growing in both moist and deserted soil. Silver maple cut in wetter areas will carry slightly more moisture than when cut in dryer areas, but its moisture levels will rarely exceed that of cherry.

Heat Output and Efficiency of Silver Maple

As a softwood variety of maple, silver maple is not as effective heat source as its relatives but does still pack a punchy flame.

It generates 20.1 million BTUs, which is more than most varieties of spruce and poplar.

Though silver maple does burn out quicker than other maple varieties, still it burns hot enough to provide ample warmth on a chilly winter night.

Silver maple also catches fire quicker than other maple varieties so can be used as kindling for a longer-lasting fire.

Fire Characteristics Of Silver Maple

Understanding the kind of fire that silver maple produces will allow you to decide how you want to use it in your home.

Creosote build-up

Not only does silver maple carry little moisture, but it also does not have as much sap as sugar or red maple firewood. This means that is it will contribute a very low amount of tar-like creosote to your chimney.

Keep in mind though that unseasoned wood of any kind will create a quicker build-up of creosote as it will create more smoke.

Amount Of Smoke

As a lower-density wood, silver maple will not create a lot of smoke. Especially so as its content of water is so low.

Any smoke that it does produce will not be sweet or suffocating like sugar maple smoke, nor black and heavy like some pine varieties.

Instead, silver maple is a generally clean-burning wood.

Does It Produce Coals?

All maple trees produce good quality coals that allow the fire to last longer, even softer maples like silver maple.

That being said, silver maple does create some of the weakest coals out of the maple varieties. They will help a silver maple fire last longer but will not keep it hot for as long as hardwood maples

To create a fire that produces good quality coals and that can keep burning all night, mix your silver maple in with hickory or oak.

Is It Okay To Burn Silver Maple In A Fireplace?

Low sap levels mean that silver maple will not crack and pop when burnt in your fireplace. It will also smoke a minimal amount, making it a great wood to use in a log burner or open fireplace.

The main issue with silver maple is that it does not generate as much heat or last as long as as other hardwoods. Though with a BTU of 20.1, you will certainly feel some of the heat for the time that it burns.

If you want to keep your fire going all night, use silver maple with other hardwood maple varieties.

How Long To Season Silver Maple Wood?

Some say that a silver maple seasoned for a year can be enough if the tree itself is small. But to make sure that your silver maple is properly seasoned, stick with an 18 month seasoning period.

What is good about silver maple is that it is not as rot prone as other maple relatives like box elder firewood. So, you can leave it to the season for a few years so long as you store it somewhere breezy and dry.

Pros And Cons Of Using Silver Maple as Firewood


  • Easy to split
  • Very little smoke
  • Low sparks
  • Little creosote build-up
  • Rot-resistant


  • Lower BTU than other maples

How Does Silver Maple Compare To Other Firewood?

The best thing to compare silver maple to is another kind of maple. Most places that sell maple firewood are likely to supply a variety of its species and silver maple should not be your go-to choice.

Silver maple does have a moderate BTU but it still does not create a hot or effective fire when contending with sugar maple or black locust. Nevertheless, it is a great heat source to use throughout the harsh winter months.

Furthermore, silver maple does have a lower moisture and sap content than other types of maple which means less creosote build-up and fewer burning issues in general.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Cook With Silver Maple?

Silver maple generates enough heat to cook your food. It also produces very few sparks or smoke, making it a safe wood to use on a campfire or stovetop.

How Much Does A Cord Of Silver Maple Weigh?

Silver maple weights 2197 lbs per cord when dry and 3825 lbs per cord when green or freshly cut.

How Common Is Silver Maple?

You probably see more silver maples daily than you realize as it is one of the most common maple trees in the US – especially in the east and the central US.


You will have no issue processing silver maple. Its soft wood is easy to split and does not take long to dry out the little moisture content that it holds. It produces a low amount of heat without any smoke but doesn’t last as long as oak or locust woods.

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