Poplar or cottonwood is a readily available firewood in many parts of the country. If you are considering using this species for heat, you should first know the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Poplar puts out a low amount of heat when compared to other hardwoods. This variety emits approximately 17,260 BTU or British Thermal Units per cord of wood, according to Woodheat.org. Elm, oak and hickory wood can produce nearly twice that amount.
Ease of Burning
Cottonwood can be a fairly easy wood to burn. It should nonetheless be seasoned, or allowed to cure, for a period before using it. This means the wood should not have any green to it. Dried poplar wood should have a moisture content of 20 percent or less to burn efficiently, according to Woodheat.org.
Poplar can be a safe wood to burn because it does not throw sparks. It tends to emit a moderate amount of smoke, however. The amount of smoke produced is typical of other varieties such as sycamore, elm and chestnut. It does not produce a foul stench when it is burning. It also does not contain a great deal of sap, which can result in less creosote build-up in your chimney.