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Burning Weeping Willow

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by 12pack, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. 12pack

    12pack New Member

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    Any one burn weeping willow? I cut and split one last year.

    It burns pretty quick and man it stinks. Just wondering.......

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  2. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    I cut some for my parent's camp upstate. Strictly outdoor firewood. A waste of energy when compared to the work you need to put in to getting it. Featherweight stuff too.
  3. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    That stuff burns, but... I will not fall, cut and split WW again. It is hard on chainsaws, and hard to cut even with a sharp chain. The bark seems to have a lot of grit in it, and my chainsaw chains sparked a lot cutting it (hint: use semi-chisel on WW). Once cut and stacked (no need to split, it was for an OWB), it dried OK, but it was pretty light and there was not much heat in it when burned. It seemed to rot fairly fast in the racks as well (after 2 seasons it was getting pithy). We burned it in an OWB so did not notice the smell.

    I no longer cut willow for firewood, nor will I cut: cottonwood, aspen, poplar, cedar or grand fir. Low value heat from wood for the same effort, not worth it.
    Gasifier likes this.
  4. 12pack

    12pack New Member

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    I agree, it weighs nothing, yes a waste of energy but the tree came down and burning it is better than paying someone to haul it away.:)
    Scols likes this.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I did a few years ago . . . as mentioned burns up quickly. I don't go looking for it, but would burn it again for the shoulder season.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Odd to see cedar on your list. Our western red cedar is actually fairly high on the btu charts and it is a pleasure to cut and split.

    I don't like to waste wood so have burned all of the woods on your no-cut list and in a modern stove, even the non-cat hearthstone, they all performed surprisingly well. The willow was the worst to process since it seems to be twisted.
  7. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Like most willows, burns fast.
    Shoulder season wood at best.
    Wonder if weeping willow is a native species to the US. ?
    Have never seen them in the woods, just in yards.
  8. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    I mistook a downed WW for a hardwood tree (while driving by from the road). I stop, introduced myself and asked for permission. Go home get the saw, etc. As soon as I sink my chain into it I see huge flakes floating in the air and think this isn't a hardwood. Just out of courtesy and respect for the nice lady who allowed me on her property I took a truck load of rounds home. Split it stacked on pallet for about 9 months and took it to my folk's camp. cannot believe how light this junk is. good for a camp fire I would not even waste my stove's time on this stuff. I took a poplar last year and it burned OK for shoulder season......lots of ashes though. completely fill up my firebox in two days.

    Let's just say I learned a good lesson and I started to pay more attention to indentifying trees;) at that point!
  9. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    A neighbor with ~7 acres took down about 12 big willows and was kind enough to ask if I wanted it - "no, thank you". The poor guy still has a big pile of rounds laying there after 3 years, mostly compost now. It's maybe 400' away from our stacks.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I've cut a couple willow we had by the creek and just let them lay. But if someone really needs wood, you can get some heat from that stuff. Awful, but still burnable if in a pinch. Once you get past the smell....
    amateur cutter and Gasifier like this.
  11. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

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    Campfire woodpile they go. And yes they stink...:)
  12. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    I thought they burned well after split and stacked and dried. I did not notice any bad smell as I have read so much about on here. under no circumstances will I ever touch the stuff again but my folks were sure pleased to get a 1/3 cord of c/s/s free wood that was dry.
  13. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I used our weeping willow for campfire wood. I think adding wood to the campfire is half the fun, especially for boy scouts, so we let the scouts burn it. One really convenient feature of willow in a campfire is that it burns away fast and doesn't leave a lot of coals, so it is easier to extinguish than denser woods. I hate to put oak on a campfire only to have a huge pile of coals that would heat my house for a week, and then have to haul water to put out the coals.
    rideau likes this.
  14. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Well, for one red cedar cannot be collected/cut/harvested in BLM cutting areas. I have some dry red cedar logs in my stacks now that I got with a load of Doug fir, but it has about half the weight and half the heat as Doug fir. I do not see how it puts out the BTUs that they claim in many lists. I believe it has the same heat as Eastern redcedar and on Chimneysweeps site cedar is listed below cottonwood at 12 MBTU per cord. Other sites list eastern and western red cedar as high as 17 MBTU, but I bleive that is bull. Cedar is easy to split, but that is about it. I do not waste wood, and I do have some cedar and cottonwood in my stacks now that fell near here or I got with other wood, but I do not go after those species any more. There is always free cottonwood, willow and poplar on CL. It takes the same time and energy to get them as black locust, madrone, Oregon white oak and Doug fir, and they all have far better heat value. Pine is my borderline wood; I have a lot of black pine on my property and I burn what falls here, but I do not go a long way to get more of it. It is good shoulder season wood, and if I want heat fast in the house I will burn it.
  15. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I burned it for half a season because it was all we had one year good lord does it stink ! Our stove was pre EPA at the time and smoked the whole neighbor hood out we got so many complaints. <> I have avoided willow and paper bark since ! I will if I have to but only if I have to !

    Pete
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. 12pack

    12pack New Member

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    Yea, it does stink pretty bad. I have 4 willows in my front yard that gotta come down soon. They make a mess with the limbs and are about 60' tall and in bad shape. I worry about the dog and kids.

    Had a 8" limb snap on a calm sunny day, almost took out my nine year old. I will have all I can chipped and will have to split the rest..
  17. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Had a area in the front yard where my kids use to play that was under a big sycamore tree, that tree use to regularly drop large branches right were they use to play. They had their swing and sandbox, that sort of thing there. Fortunately it only happened during strong winds, so rather than moving all that stuff, they just weren't allowed to play there during storms. Still it was unnerving to go outside after a storm and sometimes see a 200 lb limb lying right across their sandbox.
    Weeping willow trees have a lot of character, but they are notorious for having limbs break off when they get big and old. Makes lousy firewood, ok for bonfires though, if you can put up with the smell.
  18. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know what everyone is having issues with burning willow. It burns beautifully. Maybe it is the fact that I have an arborist that drops off free wood in my driveway every few weeks. If one out of five loads is willow or some other poorly burning wood I still go out and give him a beer for the favor. He usually drops 1-2 cords at a time.

    I guess wood no matter the species is like beer. The best burning/tasting are the free ones.
    Applesister likes this.
  19. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Its the smell that gets me it reeks :oops: :eek: _g ;sick. I think it burns really nice for the shoulder season fast and hot but then there is the smell and neighbors complaining outside issue. ;lol

    Pete
  20. 12pack

    12pack New Member

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    I dont give a hoot about my yuppie neighbors, but it stinks ha ha ha
    Scols and Pallet Pete like this.
  21. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    All smoke stinks, especially for those of us who are runners. Gives me incentive to burn as efficiently as possible.
    ailanthus and Ralphie Boy like this.
  22. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest



    "All smoke stinks?" Quite the sweeping generalization there. I beg to differ. Try eating BBQ and you will change that tune. The smoke gets into your blood and it will smell great. I love burning alder, maple, cherry and oak. The smoke from those woods all smell good to me. Cottonwood and willow smell like burning piss. There is a difference. I am also a runner, a cyclist, and an avid snow skier, but I guess I am the exception to your sweeping generalization there as well.

    I grow several types of native willows on my property here, and they are great trees and they suck up a lot of water. But cutting, splitting and burning it is not on my list of good qualities about willow. I have the same opinion about cottonwood, but I do not grow that stuff.
    Ralphie Boy, Pallet Pete and oppirs like this.
  23. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Considering that you put the same effort into finding, cutting, splitting and stacking with willow as with any wood.....the return that you get is significantly lower than say getting oak. you invest the same for both and get less from one. I like a higher return for my effort. plus it takes up the same amount of space in your yard......why waste that space on a poor btu producing wood? even if it is free, which it will always be, as it is crap. I burned some poplar this season and it performed so so....not great and now that I have gotten into my hardwood I really see how poorly it heats compared to that.......I can only imagine what willow would perform like.
  24. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Fortunately my neighbor are good people for the most part !

    Pete
    jatoxico likes this.
  25. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I have to tell a story about a Weeping Willow from my child hood........It grew in my neighbor's yard and the roots from that thing stopped up our sewer over and over. One day when my dad was rooting out the sewer, and cussing that Weeping Willow, he mumbled something about copper nails in that dang thing would end his problem. Sooooo, being the adventuress type that my brother and I were, we found the copper nails Dad had for gutters I think, and drilled that ole weeping willow. Much to my Dad's surprise, it died....we never told him why;lol
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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