How to Season Firewood
If you buy or cut your wood green, you will need to dry it in order for it to burn more efficiently and safely. Learning how to season firewood is simple. It takes time for wood to fully dry but there are a few tricks I will tell you about below that can speed up the firewood drying process.
When firewood is cut from a live tree it will be green. Green wood is wood that is still alive and full of sap, which is mostly water. When a tree is fresh cut the moisture content can be 60% or more. Before your firewood will burn well it will need to be seasoned. To season wood means to give the wood time for the water to evaporate out of it. Ideally it should be seasoned to about 20% moisture content or less. This can take from 6 months to over a year depending on the wood and your firewood drying conditions.
If your wood is green it should be left out uncovered exposed to the sun and wind. Air circulation is a must when drying wood and direct sun will greatly speed drying. It is common for people to want to cover their wood pile with a firewood tarp but covering it too soon will only cause you problems.
The smaller your wood is the faster it will dry. Whole logs will take a long time to dry and in some cases may not ever fully dry. When you cut them into firewood lengths and split them you greatly increase the surface area where moisture can escape. Splitting your wood will especially help it dry. The bark seals in moisture and when you split the pieces it opens them up so the moisture can evaporate.
Keep your wood off the ground. Wood will absorb moisture from the soil.
Stacking will help by creating better air circulation. One long stack in direct sun is best. If you make multiple stacks side by side be sure and make at least a few inches of space between the stacks so air can flow between them. Learn how to stack firewood.
If you stack it in a shed it will likely dry slower because it will be shaded from the sun and the walls may inhibit air flow. If you must store it in a shed make sure it’s well ventilated and stack the wood so air can flow between the stacks. Just know that it will probably dry slower than if it was out in the sun.
Don’t cover your firewood pile with a firewood tarp or similar cover while it is still green or wet. This will just hold in moisture and encourage mold and decay. If it rains, it doesn’t matter if the wood gets rained on. The surface water from the rain will dry fast, and believe it or not, according to many people, rain can help the wood dry. Wait until your wood is dry before covering it.