Fast-growing trees are often managed for inexpensive firewood. Good choices for firewood trees are those that sprout from the stump once they're cut and produce rapid new growth every year. An area as small as 3 acres can supply enough firewood for a typical home during the winter if the right fast-growing trees are grown and managed correctly.
Poplar trees (Populus) are a family of fast-growing trees that include the cottonwood and aspen tree. They have broad silvery leaves and grow quickly from seeds and cuttings. They also form thickets as new trees are produced from the spreading shallow roots. Some poplar varieties to grow for firewood that are recommended by the Michigan State University Extension are "Carolina," "Robusta" and "Raverdeaux." Some poplars can grow as high as 100 feet.
The black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) grows to 50 feet high throughout the United States. It has a straight trunk and undergoes rapid growth, making it a suitable tree for firewood production. The black locust tree is tolerant of a wide range of soil and growing conditions. It sprouts readily from the stump as well as from the roots, and has the ability to form dense thickets if not managed properly.
Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) is suitable for growing in a variety of soils throughout the United States. It's tolerant of extreme cold and heat and grows fast, up to 60 feet tall. It spreads readily from the large amount of seed produced in the fall. While most fast-growing trees are poor candidates for landscaping, the green ash is suitable for landscapes.
The catalpa tree (Catalpa speciosa) grows best in moist, well-drained soil but is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions throughout the United States. It's considered a fast-growing weedy tree in landscapes but is a suitable tree for firewood production. The numerous seed pods resembling long beans are produced after the conspicuous flowers appear in spring. The catalpa tree grows rapidly to 70 feet tall.
The thornless honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is native to North America. It's stronger-wooded than other trees grown for firewood and is longer-lived. The thornless honeylocust is fast-growing, with an eventual height of 75 feet. It has small leaves that allow sunlight to penetrate the canopy so grass and other plants can thrive underneath. The thornless honeylocust tree is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and soils throughout the United States, including extreme cold and heat.