Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Poplar Firewood Identification

...
poplar trees image by david hughes from Fotolia.com

Firewood dealers often offer "firewood mixes" to consumers that include softer woods, such as poplar and aspen, mixed with hard woods, such as oak or maple. These softer woods burn more quickly, produce less heat and may smoke or produce unpleasant odors. Free poplar firewood is one thing, but if you're paying for it in a mix, make sure you understand the percentage of poplar to other woods. That great deal on firewood may not be such a great deal if it is mostly comprised of poplar.

Identification

Identifying poplar firewood by sight alone is difficult, since it resembles oak. Keep in mind, though, that poplar grows quickly and is often harvested while the trees are still fairly young. The wood may not be split, but rather cut whole into 2- to 3-foot lengths. The round logs are often only 5 to 8 inches across. The bark, if left intact, may be brownish gray or even white, depending on the poplar variety.

  • Firewood dealers often offer "firewood mixes" to consumers that include softer woods, such as poplar and aspen, mixed with hard woods, such as oak or maple.
  • Free poplar firewood is one thing, but if you're paying for it in a mix, make sure you understand the percentage of poplar to other woods.

Cutting

One way to identify poplar is by cutting or splitting it. Poplar is a light wood that splits very easily, with few flying wood chips. Unlike pine, it doesn't produce a lot of resin or sap, and its bark is fairly soft and smooth.

Burning

Compare the wood in question to other hardwoods to determine if it is poplar. Poplar lights easily and burns quickly with few sparks and very few coals. It may produce some smoke or an off-odor. Because it burns so quickly, it doesn't produce much heat.

  • One way to identify poplar is by cutting or splitting it.
  • Poplar is a light wood that splits very easily, with few flying wood chips.

Benefits

Despite poplar's reputation as a poor firewood, it does have some advantages. Poplar works very well as kindling. It splits easily into small pieces and lights quickly. Poplar trees are prone to winter damage and tend to drop wood. If you have a poplar tree on your property, you should have an ample supply of kindling from the debris that collects at the bottom of these trees.

Recommendations

When buying firewood, choose a reputable dealer that's been in business in the area for a long time. Ask for references and avoid buying firewood mixes if possible. If buying a firewood mix, ask for a written description detailing the percentage of wood types in the mix. If you have access to free poplar wood, by all means use it, but mix it with a hard wood if possible for more efficient fires.

  • Despite poplar's reputation as a poor firewood, it does have some advantages.
  • If you have access to free poplar wood, by all means use it, but mix it with a hard wood if possible for more efficient fires.

Related Articles

How to Identify Split Wood Firewood
How to Identify Split Wood Firewood
What Is Ovangkol Wood?
What Is Ovangkol Wood?
Are Weeping Willow Trees Good Firewood?
Are Weeping Willow Trees Good Firewood?
Mimosa Wood Information
Mimosa Wood Information
What Is Yew Wood?
What Is Yew Wood?
Trees Used to Make Furniture
Trees Used to Make Furniture
How Long Does Hickory Firewood Need to Season?
How Long Does Hickory Firewood Need to Season?
Uses of Sycamore Trees for Fire Wood
Uses of Sycamore Trees for Fire Wood
List of Drying Times for Firewood
List of Drying Times for Firewood
How to Fix Rotten Raised Beds
How to Fix Rotten Raised Beds
Strength of Poplar Trees
Strength of Poplar Trees
What Is Pine Resin?
What Is Pine Resin?
Beech Tree Uses
Beech Tree Uses
How to Sell a Cedar Tree for Wood
How to Sell a Cedar Tree for Wood
How to Prune Silver Maple
How to Prune Silver Maple
How to Clean a Diamond Blade
How to Clean a Diamond Blade
How to Finish Wood With Mineral Oil
How to Finish Wood With Mineral Oil
Garden Guides
×