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Is Poplar Good Firewood?

By Lawrence Macmillan May 19, 2022

If you have a fireplace, fire pit or log burner, then you are probably always on the lookout for new and affordable fuels to burn.

After all, no one wants to burn a hole in their pocket trying to keep themselves warm, so it's great to always be trying to find better fuels to burn at home. 

However, you must always be cautious - burning the wrong type of fuel or firewood could have disastrous consequences.

Is Poplar Good Firewood?

That is where we come in. We are going to be taking a look at poplar wood and if you can use it as a good type of firewood - or if you should avoid it at all cost! 

So, let's jump right in to learn more about poplar and if you can use it as firewood. 

What Is Poplar Wood?

Poplar wood comes from the Poplar tree, a species of tree that mainly grows in temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere. They are typically very fast-growing but short-lived trees.

There are two very common types known as white poplars and white poplars, but aspens and cottonwoods are also types of poplar trees. 

The wood they produce is very soft and is used by a lot of manufacturers to make cardboard, paper, crates and veneer products.

Not only that, but many landscapers use poplar trees as windbreaks or as privacy screens due to how fast they grow and how visually beautiful they are said to be. 

Can You Use Poplar Wood As Firewood?

Technically, yes - you can use poplar wood as firewood but it does require treatment first. However, a lot of people choose not to use poplar wood as firewood because it does not last very long once lit. 

Although it can burn very hotly, it simply doesn't last. Therefore, using poplar as firewood is not recommended if you want to heat up your home for the night.

However, if a quick bright burn is all you are after then poplar wood could be the firewood for you. A log of poplar firewood typically burns for around two hours, plus its status as a softwood means it is super easy to ignite. 

However, poplar firewood needs to be treated before burning first. 

This is because poplar is a softwood and can absorb a lot of moisture. Although it does not typically have a lot of sap (which is a big contributor to creosote build up), it does require a seasoning period of at least six months due to its moisture content.

You will need to put a lot of effort into preparing your poplar logs if you choose to use it as a firewood.

These logs need to be split and lifted off the ground to keep them from getting wet and allowing good air circulation to dry out the wood. Elevating the logs will also help prevent rot. 

Should You Use Poplar As Firewood?

There are a few advantages to using poplar as firewood although many firewood connoisseurs are very much against the idea. 

One advantage is its availability and short seasoning period. You can easily find a lot of poplar trees in the wild and even grow some in your backyard, meaning that you can keep your own supply of firewood.

They also grow very quickly so you can cut one down and then grow another one in its place with ease.

Although six months may seem like a long time, it's actually a very short period of time when it comes to wood seasoning.

Many types of wood take months and months to fully season so six months is actually a relatively short seasoning period. This means you don't have to wait long to use your poplar logs.

Also, if you only plan on using your fire pit or log burner in short bursts, then poplar is a great choice of firewood because it won't burn for hours after you are done.

You can just pop a few longs in, let them burn and then they will go out. This means you don't have to worry about wasting fuel or waiting around for it to be properly extinguished. 

Plus, poplar is easily lit so you don't have to waste much in terms of firestarters. 

The Disadvantages Of Poplar Firewood

However, nothing is perfect and there are also plenty of reasons to avoid using poplar as a type of fuel. 

One reason is because poplar firewood gives off a lot of smoke. Smoke in such high amounts can be toxic to human wildlife, as it can contain carbon monoxide that can lead to serious health problems.

Plus, smoke is not very pleasant to smell but it clings to furniture and clothes so if you use poplar as an indoor firewood, expect there to be a build up of smoke and carbon monoxide. 

Although a clear, effective chimney should be enough to prevent this issue, creosote can build up in chimneys and prevent them from working like they should.

Creosote is caused by smoke and sap so poplar firewood could contribute to you needing to clean your chimney out more than often. 

Another reason why so many people avoid using poplar is because it burns up so quickly. Although this can be a positive factor to some people, to most people who like to enjoy long hours by a fire, this is definitely a downside. 

Poplar only burns for one or two hours meaning that it is ineffective when it comes to indoor heating or camping.

Because most people who use a fire pit or log burner or fireplace like to enjoy its use for long periods of time, poplar is not a go-to type of firewood because of how quickly it burns. 

Conclusion

So, should you use poplar as a firewood?

Only if you want a very short, bright fire. Poplar is not widely used as a firewood because it does not burn for long periods of time, making it terrible when it comes to indoor heating.

So, many people consider poplar to be a bad type of firewood because of its inability to burn for long periods of time. 

However, if you are seeking a short-term firewood then poplar might just be the one for you. Everyone's circumstances and preferences are different so there is bound to be someone out there who's ideal type of firewood is popular.


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