Does Cedar Make Good Firewood

Summary – What makes Cedar Good for Firewood

Cedar, although it smells nice when being burned, is not a good option for firewood.
Cedar has a high amount of sap which can cause a moderate amount of smoke and wood stoves burning cedar can suffer from creosote buildup.
The high sap amount causes popping and sparks can fly easily, making it a dangerous option for option fire places.
Cedar has a low MBTU output, make it a poor choice for high heat, and long burn times.


Common Name: Cedar

Scientific Name: Cedar, Eastern or Red (Juniperus virginiana); Cedar, Western Red (Thuja plicata); Cedar, White (Thuja occidentalis).

Identification: Very tall trees up to 180 foot high. Needle like leaves on woody branches (like a flat brush).

Red Cedar Tree
Western Red Cedar Leaf

Location: North Eastern USA, through Hardiness zone 2 to 9.

Hard / Soft: Soft.

US Hardiness Zones

Average Dry Weight / Cord: 1870 – 2000 lbs. (Lightest 25%).
Average Green Weight / Cord: 2430 lbs.
Comparative Seasoning / Drying Time: 6 to 9 months

Average MBTU / Pound: 12 – 20.
MBTU / Pound Percentile: Bottom 25% to Mid – Bottom 25%.
This is a comparison measure of MBTU compared to common fire wood varieties as per this best firewood to burn chart.

Cut-ability: Easy.
Split-ability: Easy.

Smoke: Moderate smoke.
Sparks: High sparks.
Scent: Pleasant strong sweet scent.


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