How to Burn Evergreen Trees as Firewood

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It's important to use a fireplace screen with evergreen wood.
It's important to use a fireplace screen with evergreen wood. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

For many, the best part of a cozy fire in the fireplace is listening to the snap, crackle and pop of the wood as it burns. Evergreen wood gives more pop per ounce than almost any other type of wood. The pitch, or sap, within the wood creates both the ambiance and also some problems for wood burners if the wood isn't allowed to dry properly.

Split evergreen wood into pieces no larger than about 3 inches in diameter.

Let the wood dry for at least a year in a well-ventilated space that's protected from the elements. Evergreen wood takes a long time to dry, and some pockets of sap never completely dry, which accounts for the popping noises as they heat up and turn to steam. If the wood is wet when it's burned the heat output will be much lower.

Use evergreen wood for the initial kindling to start the fire. Evergreen wood catches easily and burns very hot, which allows other woods to also catch fire.

Avoid filling a firebox completely with evergreen wood. The fire may become so hot that you run the risk of starting a chimney fire. A good ratio is two pieces of alternate wood for every evergreen piece. Oak and other hardwoods make good matches for evergreen, with the evergreen providing a quick, hot fire and the other wood offering a longer, steady flame when the evergreen burns out.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's not true that burning evergreen wood causes a creosote buildup problem in the chimney. The creosote is more often created by burning wood at a low heat, rather than by the type of wood burned.

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