1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Burning Box Elder?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Ralphie Boy, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,150
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River
    I'm going to cut 3 box elder trees in my yard soon. Is it worth the time and effort to split, stack and season them for those cool nights in late September and October? I hear box elder can be difficult to split and I know it does not produce a lot of heat, but the price is right.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,147
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    If it is free it is worth burning. I have burned some B.E. over the years. Need to get it split and stacked where it can get some good air movement and maybe some sun so it gets dried out good. I put some under my covered porch last year too early. It is not dry enough yet. I should have left it outside longer. Luckily I have plenty of Ash stacked outside that is has a good moisture content. The B.E. may not throw the most BTUs, but it still throws BTUs. Free heat is good heat.
  3. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    4,010
    Loc:
    Central Mass
    Definately cut and split it, great shoulder season wood, its basically maple.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Box elder seems to get a bad rap from most folks. Yet, it is in the maple family and yes, you can burn it just fine. It will not compare with something like oak but for sure in the fall it makes an excellent firewood. You can also burn it in the winter months but then you would want to burn it during the daytime and not at night. So cut away and enjoy the heat.

    If you plan on cutting now and burning this fall, beware Ralph! That is not much time for drying. My suggestion is to get them cut ASAP, split the wood fairly small and then stack it loosely out where it will get lots of wind and hopefully a decent amount of sun. Wind it the most important here. Be sure to stack it off the ground and I would not stack it more than 4' high because you want to stack it loosely rather than tight so your stacks won't be particularly strong. Good luck.
  5. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,150
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River
    I don't plan to burn it this fall. I just did not do a good job of stating that. What I meant was I would be burning it in the cooler months, Sept, Oct and not so much in the coldest months, Jan - Feb.

    Thanks for everyone's input.;)
  6. chvymn99

    chvymn99 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    652
    Loc:
    Kansas
    Great firestarter for getting a bed of heat for harder woods to take off on. Starts really easily, plus free is always good.
  7. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    663
    Loc:
    eastern PA
    I would say it's worth it. The last one I cut looked like this. You never know, you may get lucky.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/milled-box-elder-part-2.84802/
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/milled-box-elder-part-1.84800/
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,687
    Loc:
    Indiana
    There's nothing wrong with box elder. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but heck it doesn't get any closer than in your yard. It isn't hard to split and seasons fast. Just don't expect it to be oak.
  9. jeepmedic

    jeepmedic Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    111
    Loc:
    Cashton, WI
    We burn lots of box elder in our outdoor boiler. It burns fine for us, although we try and mix it with some other hard woods. Plus...all the farmers around my area hate it and want it all cut down and out of they're fields..they say "get it outta hear, take as much as you want for free, just get it out or I'm gonna bulldoze and burn it !!!"

    Hence I have about 11 cords of it stacked all for free, and there is no end in site :)
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Free BTU's are great BTU's:) Definitely a great shoulder season wood, and if they are right there in your yard, the easy factor makes it even better ::-) So I say YES.....GO FOR IT;)
  11. angrybeaver

    angrybeaver Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Lewisburg, West Virginia
    I use it all the time for woodturnin! Can at times be some beautiful stuff as the pics above show. Sometimes it can be beyond bland. Either way it will burn..
  12. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Though I don't love it I won't turn it away either! Box elder is very good for a shoulder season wood and dries well when split.

    Pete
  13. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    515
    Loc:
    MB
    Its been a while since I have read the term "gotten-wood".... It refers to any wood you have "gotten" on your yard. If it's available, and it's dry and it is on your yard..... It is good to go. There have been winters when the only wood we had access to was Box Elder and it isn't going to get you through the night but it will warm you up during the daytime. You just have to be ready to fuel the stove often.
  14. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    143
    Loc:
    Northern Lower Michigan
    We have several B.E. trees here on the farm. I burn some and also use some as a sacrificial first course in my wood stacks. I first did that about three seasons ago and those rounds haven't decayed enough yet to warrant replacement. For some reason I have a hard time finding free pallets so the B.E. makes a great substitute.
  15. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,646
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    Not very many of those left around here. They've all died from the box elder bug.
  16. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,850
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    I would burn it just out of spite of those damn bugs that coat the south side of my house on a sunny day!! I hate those buggers.
  17. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,150
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River
    They are DISGUSTING ::-) and the reason the trees are coming down!

    Thanks everyone! all three will be down by noon today, split & stacked by noon tomorrow.
  18. jrmcdona

    jrmcdona New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Seattle
    Ralphie Boy - did cutting them down get rid of your problem? Same issue here! Thanks
  19. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2012
    Messages:
    184
    Loc:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I can tell you from firsthand experience that the bugs like silver maple as much as box elder.
  20. jrmcdona

    jrmcdona New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Seattle
    Ugh! Did you get control of them? I know there are maples out there but not sure if they are Silver. We are looking at buying the house and I did see about 3 box elder trees, some other Maples (not sure if they were silver or not) and lots of willows.

    Those bugs were out in full and really giving me grief if I can get them under control or not. I am not sure if the current has done any pesticides etc. to control them. Thanks for the heads up.
  21. jrmcdona

    jrmcdona New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Seattle
    One other thing, I live in Washington state and from what I can tell they are more widespread in the Midwest and Eastern US. That doesn't mean it wasn't planted specifically. Since I don't live there and woukd have to get a tree inspector to come investigate as part of the house inspection, it is a tough call. The house has a large southern, sunny exposure that can also attract them. But they are also out on the barn which is near the Box elder, there are many all over that barn.

    thanks
  22. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2012
    Messages:
    184
    Loc:
    Southeast Wisconsin
  23. lindnova

    lindnova Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    293
    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    Box elder will burn fine. Fast hot fire with little coals. Just make sure you get the wood split up and dry or it will get moldy fast sitting in rounds or on the ground.
  24. Sconnie Burner

    Sconnie Burner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    Messages:
    263
    Loc:
    River Falls, Wi
    I have 2 rows 5' high x 12' long (about a months worth each) for shoulder season. Its been working great for taking the chill out of the house on the sub 30 degree mornings. It burns shorter and doesn't cook us out of the house like oak would! I actually will try to find 2-3 trees for next year as well becuase it seems to be the ticket for this time of year!
  25. MI wood guy

    MI wood guy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Messages:
    55
    Loc:
    west michigan
    I'm burning 15 month seasoned box elder right now.perfect for shoulder season.I had 1 rick from a tree in my moms yard.like stated it won't last all night,but if I fill stove around 10pm there is enough coals at 6 am to relight by opening air and adding splits.I didn't know the bugs killed the trees,just thought they attracted the annoying bugs

Share This Page