I have only burned black locust firewood a few times since it does not grow native where I live. One year I cut one up that was growing in someone’s yard and I was very impressed. Black locust is very dense, burns very hot, and burns for a long time.
This wood forms great coals as it burns, which will put off a lot of radiant heat for a long period of time. The coals will eventually burn up completely and leave very little ash. It can have a tendency to pop and throw sparks as it burns. I have heard of people claiming the wood has an odor that isn’t so great, but I don’t remember that about it.
Black locust wood is very hard and durable. It has a reputation of being somewhat difficult to work with, hard to saw, nail and glue. It is very rot resistant and can last for many decades, even when in contact with soil. It is said to be a natural alternative to chemical treated wood, and can last a lot longer than treated wood. It makes great walkways and decking, both for its ability to hold up under the weather and under traffic. This is a great wood to use for landscaping and in the garden instead of toxic railroad ties or chemical treated wood.
I thought it was a shame cutting that tree I had into firewood after I started to split it and saw how beautiful the wood was. It is a wide grained wood with beautiful shades of golden yellow and almost green. I think it is an exotic looking wood and probably underutilized in the US.
Black locust trees are native to Eastern North America, but they have been planted widespread in the Western US and Europe. Plantations were established in California for growing mine timbers. It was brought to Europe in the 1600’s to grow wood for building ships.
Black locust trees are fast growing and quick to reforest. They will sprout back quickly from the stump and established trees are known to send up shoots from the roots a distance from the main tree. These characteristics can make this a good tree for reforesting areas that have been cleared, but they can also become an invasive pest choking out native trees and plants.
If you are considering using black locust for firewood, you will probably be happy with it. And if you want to stock up with several years of wood, this is a great choice since it will last a long time, probably decades. If I had access to more of this wood, it would be one of my preferred choices.
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