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fastest growing hardwoods

 
Matthew McCoul
Posts: 68
Location: Southeast Michigan
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I've seen lots of information On what wood is "best" to grow for firewood, but it all seems like half-baked pseudoscience.

The general point made is "grow this one it has higher BTUs"

But that ignores how long it takes you to get a log with more BTUs.

Seems to me, the "best" firewood will have, among other qualities, the best BTU/years of grow time.

If you have twice the BTU and 3 times the grow time (as an example), you're actually getting less BTU per year.

So that brings up the question: what are some of the fastest growing hardwoods? Any tree experts well versed in this?
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I am sure others get tired of hearing me shout from the rooftops the qualities of bamboo. But since you asked...

webpage of various btu's per cord/pound

Check out the list. You will notice Osage is at the top. at 30 MBTU's per cord. A cord weighing 4,845 pounds. Bamboo way down at the bottom, second to last, is only 10 MBTU's per cord. But a cord is only 1,615 pounds. Doing the math you see that the MBTU's per pound is exactly the same as Osage Orange. Now, grow an Osage tree and have your grandkids get back to you on how long it took to reach firewood stage. Meanwhile you have harvested from the same square footage over the years (after the first 3-5) far more pounds of culms than you will have produced of hardwood.

If you are looking for a wood lot, grow bamboo.

Oh, and bamboo is a hell of a lot easier to split, stack, and burn than logs. It takes a fraction of the time to season, as well.
 
Ray Moses
Posts: 70
Location: Brighton, Michigan
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Well that's interesting about bamboo but as far as getting massive quantities here in Michigan I really doubt it. However as far as a high BTU wood and fast growing around here black locust beat all, it heavily colonizes an area through route rhizomes and takes off like lightning. I don't believe Osage oranges very fast-growing it is a little bit higher BTUs than black locust but does not self perpetuating our area as the black locust. Osage Orange fence rows were planted many decades ago through conservation District plantings. I burn as much black locust as I can.
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Ray,

You may be correct. I have never considered myself 'man enough' to do a winter in MI, especially the UP. However, looking at the Hardiness Zone map, with the exception of the UP and North Central MI, you have a lot of zone 5 across the State. There are varieties that will go in zone 5.

http://www.bamboogarden.com/cold%20hardy%20bamboo.html

But I suspect you are right about large scale plantings. Locust would be good choice.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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When I lived in NJ we grew lots of wild cherry on the property. It grew rampant, coppiced readily, burned even when not properly dried, was easy to cut and split, burned hot, made nice coals. But each region is different so you'll need to look around your area to see what likes to grow there. Then research those varieties to see which it your requirements.

By the way, bamboo grows great here in Hawaii. I use it for all sorts of projects and use the scraps for firewood. It's good for quick, short burns. But ohia, guava, and mango are better for longer burns. I'll burn anything that I can forage or grow. I'm lucky to have access to lots of wood because of neighbors who would like to see their woods cleaned up and thinned out.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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The OP has brought up a question addressed before, though I 'm not sure of the thread since it has been a few years. It is not growth rate or heat output that is being sought, but the best compromise between the two. It's a subtle thing only discernible through careful research or long experience. In most places where wood heat or other wood-burning has been the tradition for a long time, usually there are a few species that rise to the top of the list. Ash comes first to mind.....I think there are even poems about it in Europe. Maple. Alder. Casuarina. and so on. Fast, but relatively dense and hard is the goal. Essentially you don't want oak, or more exotic things like holly or dogwood or apple....they are hot but too slow, and not fast things like poplar or willow or ailanthus or many conifers.....but rather those in the middle ground between those extremes.....
 
Akiva Silver
Posts: 151
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Black locust rocks. It grows very fast and is top of the btu list.
 
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