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Is Hackberry Good Firewood?

By Lawrence Macmillan June 09, 2022

Finding appropriate firewood is important, especially if your household is preparing for the colder winter months.

Is Hackberry Good Firewood?

Good firewood needs to burn easily and create lots of heat, but some types of wood are better firewoods compared to others.

Hackberry wood comes from the Hackberry tree, also known as the Celtic occidentalis tree.

It’s found around Northeastern and Central America and is known as hardwood.

Hardwoods are generally known as good firewoods, but is this the case with hackberry?

We’ll cover whether hackberry is good firewood or not in this article, including its heat output, the amount of smoke it produces, and if splitting it is easy or not.

Keep reading this page to learn more about hackberry wood!

Identifying Hackberry Wood

Hackberry trees are medium in size. These resemble elm trees and are flexible enough to thrive in different types of soils and weather conditions.

Hackberry is light in color and can be found thanks to its noticeable bark pattern.

You can tell it apart from elm as its bark has distinct ridges and chunks jutting out of it.

Hackberry is also known by other names, including beaver wood, nettle tree, and sugarberry.

Is Hackberry Wood Easy To Split?

If you’re looking for firewood, you’ll need a type of wood that splits easily.

If your wood is hard to split, the only way you’ll be able to cut it down is through gas or electric splitters.

Compared to some other woods, hackberry wood is particularly easy to split.

You can try your hand at using an ax and physical force, as the wood will split without much effort.

Despite it being easy to split, we’d recommend investing in a decent wood splitter.

This will mean that you’ll be able to break down other types of wood, even ones that are more difficult to split.

Hackberry wood splits easily, which makes it a good choice for anyone who doesn’t own a splitter. You can easily break it down with an ax and a little force.

Does Hackberry Season Easily?

Wood burns easier and hotter if it is dry, so it’s better to season your wood as early as you can. This will make sure that you have lots of time for your wood to dry out.

Hackberry has much less moisture than various other hardwoods, as it has a moisture content of around 64% when it is freshly cut.

As it has less moisture, hackberry is lighter and takes much less time to season compared to woods with more moisture.

If you start seasoning it early, hackberry will be ready to use once the colder months set in.

However, while hackberry dries out quickly, it will deliver better results if it has time to age.

If you leave it for around a year, hackberry will burn a lot easier and give out slightly more heat.

Does Hackberry Have A Good BTU Rating?

A wood’s BTU rating indicates whether it can create a nice amount of heat or not.

Unlike other types of wood, hackberry has an average BTU rating of 21.2 million per cord.

It can’t produce as much heat as others like beech, oak, or black locust.

Despite this, hackberry still has other advantages. It splits easily, which is always important to consider.

It’s a good wood for situations where you want to start fires quickly. Its BTU rating may be moderate, but it still produces some heat, just not as much as others.

Hackberry’s BTU rating is like tamarack and Douglas fir, though these are both softwoods.

Does Hackberry Create Quality Coals?

Hackberry will create decent coals, which is a sign of good firewood.

Coals are significant as they hold onto heat. Firewood that gives off proper coals will make sure that the fire produces a nice amount of heat, even when the wood has fully burnt out.

Quality coals also mean it takes less time to start the fire again when necessary.

Can You Burn Hackberry In Fireplaces?

You can burn hackberry in fireplaces without many issues. Hackberry doesn’t create much smoke or creosote, provided that you’ve seasoned it enough.

Hackberry also has low amounts of sap, so it won’t spark up as much either.

This sounds amazing, but keep in mind that any wood that is freshly cut (green) shouldn’t be used in a fireplace, including hackberry.

Nevertheless, as long as you’ve seasoned it well, hackberry is a nice choice for log burners and fireplaces. You’ll notice a nice heat and a light aroma too.

Other Fire Characteristics Of Hackberry

Sap Content

Every tree contains some levels of resin or sap, but even so, hackberry has much less sap compared to softer woods, like pine or cedar.

Smell

Hackberry has a light aroma that can go unnoticed. Despite this, woods like oak, cedar, and honey locust have a more pleasing smell compared to hackberry.

People that are looking for firewood that smells good may want to opt for other types of wood.

If you are set on using hackberry, you can try mixing it with other woods, like beginning with hackberry and placing oak on the fire afterward.

Creosote Levels

All firewoods will give off some amounts of creosote, but as hackberry is a hardwood, it doesn’t produce that much creosote. This will be the case as long as the hackberry has been seasoned enough.

Smoke Content

When hackberry burns, it produces little smoke, provided that it has been well-seasoned.

This wood is a low-moisture type of hardwood, so it will season in less time and produce little smoke once it burns.

The Bottom Line

Hackberry is great to keep around for instances where you want a quick fire.

You can also burn several types of wood to make the most of their advantages, like beginning with hackberry to get the fire going, then ending with oak to enjoy its pleasant smell.

Overall, there are better firewoods than hackberry available, but it isn’t the worst type around! Its BTU rating may be moderate, but it burns well and is easy to season.

You can start a fire easily with hackberry, but if you want a roasting fire, you may be better off with other types of wood, like oak.


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