When it comes to burning elm firewood, it is one of those woods you have to try for yourself to see how you like it. It is very common to find people who don’t like burning elm wood, others say it is mediocre, and some really like it. I think these differences in opinion have a lot to do with the type of elm, and how dry it is.
Red elm is a medium density hardwood and it is known for making good firewood. It is lower in BTU than common hardwoods like oaks and hickory, but it can put out good heat. It coals up nicely and can last a long time. It can be stringy but still splits ok with a maul.
American elm or white elm firewood is lower in BTU and is known for being tough to split and a lot of people really don’t like it. It is stringy wood that is tough to split and it can hold a lot of water. A lot of people may think it is seasoned after a year, and that is not always the case, sometimes it takes longer. But if it is truly dry, American, or white elm firewood will burn just fine, although not as long and hot as red elm firewood.
Dutch elm disease is common so a lot of elm wood that people try to burn is from standing dead trees. Just because it has been standing dead for a while, doesn’t mean it is dry inside, usually it is not. Once it is cut and split, it needs plenty of time to dry. And the key is to allow it plenty of time to dry but without becoming punky. Make sure you dry it in a dry well ventilated area and keep it off of the ground.
A lot of areas have quarantines on elm firewood to help prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease. So be sure and check with regulations before moving elm firewood from one location to another.
Post your experience with elm firewood below.