Grow your own firewood

With winters getting colder and unprecedented rising energy costs, there is growing demand for fuel. During winter months tree surgeons are often stopped and asked to supply firewood. The clever tree surgeons around the country will have been stock piling their wood supplies throughout the year to keep up with the surge in demand for fuel to keep the wood burning stoves and log fires going throughout the winter. The cold start to this winter looks encouraging for firewood and log suppliers.

Landowners are being hit hard with rising energy costs and with demand for wood fuel escalating, some are thinking ahead and planting broadleaf woodland for tomorrow’s fuel. There has never been a better time to plant trees for future firewood. In Scotland, funding from the Forestry Commission Scotland and advice from the Woodland Trust Scotland, free advice is available to landowners on establishing sustainable firewood sources plus how to get access to available grants.

Treesurgery.com advises tree owners who have wood burning stoves or log fires to plan ahead. If you are contracting a tree surgeon to fell a tree that is good for firewood, it pays to ask your tree surgeon to do a bit extra. If you have a log supply or shelter, ask your tree surgeon to cut and spit the wood into the sizes you require for your fire. Store the wood in a sheltered wood shelter and leave the wood to season. Generally, the denser hardwoods take much longer to season than lighter woods.

It is estimated that just 3 hectares of woodland is enough to provide a sustainable supply for a 3 bedroom house. There are many native hardwood species that produce firewood. Ash is generally thought to be one of the best native species. It is easy to split and naturally low in moisture so it seasons quickly. Oak is a naturally dense wood which produces plenty of heat and burns slowly, but must be seasoned for at least one year. Lighter woods, such as birch and rowan grow quickly, but also burn more quickly than other species.

Planting native trees has other benefits. If planted near buildings, trees can provide a windbreak in winter and cooling in summer and can provide shelter for animals and livestock. Trees too, can improve the aesthetics and landscaping of a property.

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