ODNR urges good forest management practices when cutting firewood for home use
COLUMBUS, OH Now that the season of short days and cold nights has arrived, many people throughout the state turn to wood-burning stoves and fireplaces for warmth, comfort and ambiance. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says cutting firewood from home woodlots can ease heating bills, and at the same time, further good forest management practices.
“The use of good forest management practices can be beneficial to woodland owners wanting to harvest firewood for home use or commercial sale,” said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “It’s important to know which trees to cut for the overall health of the woodlot and which carry the highest heat value.”
The best way to ensure good woodland stewardship is to work with an ODNR service forester in establishing long-term goals for the acreage such as timber production, firewood, wildlife habitat or scenery - and then develop a plan to reach those goals. Service foresters can also advise property owners on selecting the best trees to harvest as firewood. A list of local service foresters is available at ohiodnr.com .
Properly seasoned wood compares favorably with other fuels when it comes to heating quality. Any wood will burn, but the denser (heavier) woods, if properly dried, will deliver more heat per cord. Hardwoods such as ash, oak, beech, birch, hickory, maple and dogwood are excellent choices for long-lasting fires. Softwoods such as pine, spruce, and fir are good for kindling because they are easy to ignite and burn rapidly with a hot flame.
Firewood should be dried for 6 to 10 months before burning and should be split to aid in the seasoning process.
Woodlot management techniques that also help provide firewood include: