Two Year Old Eastern Hophornbeam

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Jul 11, 2008
8,943
Northern NH
I have been cleaning up around my woodlot recently and went to deal with a mixed pile of sugar maple and hornbeam rounds that have been cut for two years. They were stacked in a single row but never split. No need to look at the rounds, pick up a maple and it was light, pick up a hornbeam round and I had to make sure it was not frozen in the pile as it is so heavy. The maple has mushrooms in few spots but the Hornbeam was solid. I usually leave them alone but this one had a the maple caught up in its crown and the only good option was cut the Hornbeam, they usually do not get big but this one was a 10" diameter. I will hand split maple frequently but trying to hand split hornbeam is wasted effort, might as well hand split it sideways. It is an understory tree so it grows slow and the grain is dense.

When I got it home to my log splitter, I did notice that it split easier then when its green, when its green I can hear the splitter shift down to low gear on occasion. I did get a nice pile of flat splits that I use to box in the end of my wood piles. It is not going to get burnt for a couple of years. In the past I have burnt it and its nice long burn wood, I do not have oak where I cut, so hornbeam is probably the most dense wood I normally burn closely followed by beech. I have many acres of beech that needs to be thinned. Its my normal wood unless some other species of tree is in the way so hornbeam is never going to be something I burn a lot but its always interesting to run into it.
 
Hop hornbeam is great firewood but as you say, typically it does not get very large. Funny how you have a lot of beech and I have a lot of oak with maybe 6-7 beeches on 10 acres. Only one beech is of size and it’s close to our house.
 
The beech moved in after the ice storm of 1998. It was mostly sugar maples with some big beech but they got nuked. The beech resprouted from the roots and took over, unfortunately most of the new ones have the blight.
 
The beech moved in after the ice storm of 1998. It was mostly sugar maples with some big beech but they got nuked. The beech resprouted from the roots and took over, unfortunately most of the new ones have the blight.
Yeah I remember that storm too well. Lived in Eastern Ontario at the time and went 5 weeks with no power. Our Vermont Castings stove melted our water, cooked our food, etc. Not a fun event.
 
I cut hophornbeam down to about 1-1/2 inches. I love the stuff! The largest I've taken is about 8 inches. Everything has either been dead or tangled in a blowdown. It's intermixed in my piles so it gets burned at random. Yeah, it's a lot more work for any amount of it, but it is right near the top of the BTU charts. It's similar to buckthorn in that it is often ignored due to it's small stature, but for those who take the time are rewarded with great fuel wood. Interestingly, when I've gotten large enough pieces to split, I haven't had much trouble getting them to go.