How to Burn Aspen Wood


The burn rate of wood varies widely from one species to another. The key to efficient burn and heat output is a low level of moisture in the firewood. Aspen is a hardwood, according to Missouri State University, though it weighs less and burns more rapidly with less thermal output than other hardwood species. A cord of dry Aspen wood weighs 2,160 lbs., whereas a cord of dry Dogwood timber--a very dense, slow burning hardwood--weighs 4,230 pounds, according to Utah State University. Aspen is an attractive timber for fuel as it easily splits into logs and smaller kindling, produces very few to no spitting sparks and produces only a middling amount of smoke when burned.

Things You'll Need

  • Treated wood or masonry plinths
  • Small gauge kindling wood
  • Paper kindling
  • Matches or lighter
  • Cut, split and stack your Aspen firewood loosely. Have the pieces at least 6-inches off the ground on treated wood timber, stone or masonry blocks and under roof cover from rain.

  • Allow proper air-circulation through and around the firewood pile for the fastest drying. Dry your green (moisture-filled) Aspen firewood for at least four months and up to one year after cutting and splitting the logs to ensure optimal burn performance.

  • Create a base layer of newsprint over the grate of your wood burning stove or fireplace. Crumple roughly a half-dozen sheets to a dozen individual sheets of dry newsprint into softball size orbs.

  • Arrange a loose tangle or cross-hatching stack of small-gauge kindling wood, with each piece less than 1-inch in diameter. Arrange the kindling so that there is air space around the pieces and they are not in one solidly stacked mass. You can use small shards of your dry Aspen wood for this purpose.

  • Place several pieces of large, dry Aspen wood logs over the wood kindling in a stable structure, either a square flat triangle that will not collapse or fall forward out of the firebox.

  • Set the paper and kindly alight with a match or lighter and allow the kindling and Aspen logs to catch fire. Wait until the logs begin to glow red-orange before placing additional logs on the fire to grow or prolong it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use flammable or combustible liquids to start your aspen fire. This can be very dangerous and can cause harm to you as well as your fireplace or stove and surroundings.

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  • Photo Credit aspen tree trunks image by Mike & Valerie Miller from
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