Splitfire

Eucalyptus Firewood

I have heard mixed reviews about eucalyptus firewood. Some people love it and others don’t like it so much. It has a very high BTU and eucalyptus oil is highly flammable. I don’t have any experience burning eucalyptus, but many people claim that it burns long and hot, producing nice coals and low ash. But then there are others who claim that it burns too hot and too fast and doesn’t last long. This may be due to different varieties, or maybe more likely just pure BS. Eucalyptus is a very popular wood for firewood in many parts of the world, so I wouldn’t hesitate to burn it if I had it.

Most varieties of eucalyptus trees come from Australia and a few come from New Guinea, Indonesia and surrounding areas. They have been introduced into many parts of the world including California, where they are often used for firewood. California timber companies have experimented with eucalyptus plantations, but so far there hasn’t been much commercial interest in the wood in the USA, other than for firewood.

Eucalyptus is a hardwood, and one of the fastest growing trees in the world. It has a twisted grain and should be split when green, since it gets tough as it dries. It is also claimed that eucalyptus can take longer to dry than many other types of wood, up to two years. That claim also triggers suspicion in my BS-ometer.

Eucalyptus oil comes from distilling the leaves and has many uses. It can be used as insect repellent, antiseptic, flavouring, fragrance and has medicinal, therapeutic and industrial uses.

If you have any experience burning eucalyptus firewood, please post a comment below.

Eucalyptus firewood BTU rating.

26 comments to Eucalyptus Firewood

  • Rick B

    We use our free standing stove to heat our house even though I have a gas furnace. I had the oppertunity to obtain some Eucalyptus this last summer. The rounds were very large. some over three feet thick. It was also really heavy compaired to other rounds I have moved. It split very easy even if i just used a double bladed ax. I am burning it this winter and it seems to be plenty dry. It lights easly and burns hotter than any wood I have burned in the past. I would give up oak if I could continue to find enough Eucalyptus to burn.

  • Lyle Dam

    Heres the nuts an bolts of useing Eucalyptus.1) I havn’t come across a hotter burning wood, than Eucalyptus in my many years of useing it for heat. 2) If your considering useing just Euc.,you might want to re-think, it burns too hot. All your fire equipment, ( wood stove, flu, chimney, etc) must be in excellent shape, or there could be problems. 3) One should consider a mixture, when useing Euc. for the best results, and saftey. All in all, in my humble opinion, theres not a better firewood to be found, on the west coast

  • John Wickstrom

    I have a steel wood stove and was told not to burn euk. when I bought it. I have lots of euk on my property and yes it does burn extremely hot and long. It should age at least 2 years in my opinion. I have pieces ten years old that are still solid and heavy. Still looking for info from someone who has done scientific research on this.

  • Barry Mohr

    I’ve had great luck with eucalyptus until the latest 1/2 cord from Mt. Palomar here in California. After 18 months drying in arid San Diego, it still won’t light. What a mystery. I have gas jets to start my fireplace. 3 hours with a row of 6″ flames fails to light a single split piece. The result is a somewhat lighter log with a charcoal exterior. Have I slipped into some bizarre alternate reality or can someone explain this?

  • dpg

    First, it isn’t easy to start. But once started, to keep eucalyptus burning (unless you want to keep something volatile burning underneath), you need to let the wood settle into a bed of ash. If you try to burn it in open air in a grate, like you can with mesquite, ash or citrus, it will either charcoal out and die, or just go out. But laying in a bed of ash, it will hold a coal and burn long and hot.

  • Patrick

    I agree that Eucalyptus firewood is ‘hot stuff.’ Coming from Europe and having for many years depended on hardwood fires for heat, I moved to california, near Half Moon Bay, and bought some weird, very heavy, extremely dense chunks of wood from an old farmer. Surprisingly, the wood burned so easily and intensively that it seemed like it was a an artificial Duraflame log! It made a thick, black smoke, almost made me think that they’d been soaked in petrol…

  • Sandy

    We have always burned eucalyptus in our fireplace here in Montclair, California. Have never had a problem except it is a little too heavy for me sometimes. It does burn extreamly hot, leaves little ash, does not pop or spit, and it burns for quite some time. I have never had trouble starting the fire. I won’t use anything but Eucalyptus in my fireplace.

  • Craig

    Hi Folks.
    I am an Aussy and have just cut a ton of Euc firewood.
    There are lots of varieties and our favourite is river red gum.
    Unfortunately they are very slow growing and soon to be protected.
    The best red gum is aged for seven years befor burning.

    We cut our firewood from dead and fallen trees.
    We have to leave some for the creatures that live in the hollows.
    Parrots finches, possums and microbats live in some of my deadfalls so they stay in the fields.

    We start our internal combustion heater with a handfull of pine needles, two handfulls of kindling and three pieces of gum( eucalypt) about 3inches square.
    once that is going nicely, about ten minutes we add a couple of 3 or 4 inch square logs.
    Once that has started to turn to coals shut off your air intake halfway and it will burn for a couple of hours.

    We split them to that size as anything bigger doesn’t burn very well in our heater.
    If you are having trouble burning it through then split it into smaller diameters.

    Warm rooms

    Craig

  • Jeff

    Hi all,
    I live in a cold part of Australia and burn around 5 tons of eucalyptus a year. Overall it is a wonderful wood (bearing in mind there are around 700 varities of Eucalypt, most are great, some not so great, but in my opinion, it takes a long time to season. For me, 18 months is the minimum, two years is okay, but only after about 2.5-3 years does it burn most effectively. I’ve only got an old stove and never had any problems with it burning too hot or anything.

  • Callum

    hi…i’m from New Zealand and while the most common firewood here is Pine or Douglas Fir, Eucalptus (known here as Blue Gum) is fairly well known here as well…it also my prefered firewood…burns hot and long
    It does take about 18 months to 2 years to fully dry if left to air-dry in a stack…putting it in the greenhouse speeds things up to about a year…and if you cut&split it at the end of winter and let it dry until it feels dry on the cut ends(about a month) and the then soak it in water it dry’s in about 6 months over summer in a greenhouse…learned that from an old forester

    i stack it in the outer cages from ISO 1000 liter oil pods that can be picked up with the tractor and sit them in a pond for a week or so then stick it in the greenhouse

    1 measure (m2/cord etc) of eucalypt is equal to 2 of Douglas Fir…i know the BTU ratings don’t back that up, but i know how long it takes me get thru a cord of both and blue gum wins hands down.

    P.S split it green….or you’d better have a monster log splitter

    Happy burning

  • ANDRADE de CAlifornia

    I have grown up with old eucalyptus groves around my home and i can honestly say that I have never found a greater firewood. its true it burns hot. It is easy to start, bigger thicker pieces need a little longer to Catch but when they do they burn till the next day. I enjoy using wood for BBQ’s and carne Asadas. I’ve recently been using Valley Oak and though it gives the meat that great smoked taste it doesnt beat Eucalyptus.

  • Roddy

    We just bought a house that had a big, tall eucalyptus on it. We had a very hard freeze about 20 months ago that killed the upper branches (although the tree is coming back nicely). I had the tree topped, and I’ve been burning the deadwood for the few cold nights we’ve had so far.

    Some of the best firewood I’ve ever encountered. It lights readily, lasts about 2/3 as long as a comparable oak log, and makes some really nice heat. The smoke is light but has an astringent odor to it.

    We have a natural convection heatilator in our fireplace, and the wood sits directly on it since the angular lower pipes preclude the use of a grate. I’ve had no problems getting the fire to start, nor has there been any heavy smoke.

    I suspect most of the negatives here are due to lack of curing time. That 20 months was 20 months suspended in the air, with some -very- low (sometimes single-digit) humidity.

    I’ve had three logs, two of which were about five inches in diameter and one about four inches in diameter, started at 11:30 PM. When I got up at 6:30 the next morning, the fireplace was still radiating heat, and I was able to rekindle a fire off them.

    The logs burn in a fashion different from most, kind of like oak or other hardwoods do – there are purple flames (indicating high heat) and the logs kind of char in place. I’ve been deceived into thinking I still had logs burning when in reality a good stab with the poker caused them to disintegrate into coals :)

    HTH

  • Paul

    I live in San Diego County and have been burning eucalyptus for 15+ years. It burns hot and long. It needs a good bed of coals to keep going, but once you have that, it will burn all nite. Rounds do not burn well, so make sure to split it! I’m always on the prowl for tree trimmers who are bringing down large eucalyptus in Rancho Santa Fe. The rich folks there rarely want the wood and are happy to have you haul it off. The average trimmer doesn’t want it either as it is VERY heavy when wet and he typically doesn’t want to pay big bucks to dump it at the landfill, not to mention having to load it into his dump truck. You want to split it EARLY! Once it dries out, forget about splitting it and like I said, rounds don’t burn well. I usually wait 5-7 days after a fresh cut to split. These couple of days will usually see the rounds developing cracks. I use these cracks as guideposts for where to put my splitter. Yes, I split everything by hand! I use a “grenade” wedge and a 10 lb sledge. It usually splits with 4 or so whacks if the round is free of large branch offshoots. If the round has large branch offshoots, split perpendicular to them and then leave the offshoot part alone, you’ll never split it by hand, ever!

  • Andy D.

    I live in rural North San Diego County, which is avocado country. We are lucky enough to have ample free supply of avocado and eucalyptus wood (mostly blue gum, some lemon scented gum) which I burn in an 80:20 avo:euc ratio. The avo burns fast, and the eucalyptus pretty slowly, so the combo is good. Avo is aromatic, I love the smell, the eucalyptus not so much.

    Yes, split the euc when freshly cut and season at least a year in a warm dry climate like ours, longer in humid areas. Cheers!

  • Charles

    I burned a lot of eucalyptus for twenty years in the SF Bay Area, almost always started with pine or fir and plenty of small branches. It will burn poorly if not cured at least a year, probably much more. The heart wood is an orangy red and very attractive. It burns slow but hot. I did eventually crack my franklin fireplace. Later I had an epa approved woodstove without problems of any kind.

    Regarding the deterioration of the logs: my mother loved big trees and was horrified in perhaps 1955 when a whole stand of huge eucalyptus was cut down across the road to widen it. She asked for a pair of huge logs that we kept in our front yard, for spiritual and certainly not artistic value; one on its side and the other vertical. The vertical one began to rot in the middle in the 80′s and I was still able to split and burn lots of it. The other one lasted well into the 90′s. Much smaller branches were trimmed from the phone lines and we stacked them for years because we infrequently burned a little in a wood shop. Some of that must have been 10 to 15 years old before I got the franklin in 1978.

  • dale

    Lol…. you American dudes are funny.

    I live in Australia… the place where eucalyptus are from.

    There are heaps of differing species of above… some are sensational fire wood types others less so. Bluegum.. I see people have commented os a great wood… well no here its seen as rubbish… the best mallee roots and various box varieties Iron bark being one… sensational.

    My back yard full of stringy bark… rubbish burns hot and quick…. the box varieties are nest… sugar gum very good to.

    So when u guys talk EUC… all depends on variety.

    no worries… habve a good one

  • admin

    Dale, thank you for the input from Australia. What you say makes a lot of sense that different types of eucalyptus burn differently. It is funny that in America people do compare the different varieties of trees when it comes from our native species. For example, where I live people typically like black oak but don’t like white oak. But this is the first time I have heard anyone address the different types of eucalyptus firewood. Probably because it is not from here. Hard to argue with Australians when it comes to eucalyptus.

  • sai

    i need the time not the info on how good it burns.

  • Max

    Me and the wife favor BLOODWOOD for our firewood, a Gum tree similar to River Red Gum, up the outback of NT in aussie. We also burn River Red Gum and Wattles but we like Bloodwood the best. We prefer Bloodwood over River Red Gum because often the Red Gum is a bit more smoky and more often not as dry as Bloodwood. They are quite similar to each other and give off the same amount of heat – the main difference being River Red Gum only grows along the creekbeds, and Bloodwood grows everywhere on the plains and hills, and is often easier to access and there are thousands of dry old bloodwoods around, standing and fallen down so we have it easy for firewood needs up here, but there are plenty of River Red Gums around as well, just got to go down to the creeks if you want that wood. Love both and use lots of River Red Gums when camping in creeks and so on…Love the good ol aUSSIE hardwoods!

  • Peter

    It is true eucalyptus has a high BTU and burns hot and leaves one heck of a bed of coals that continues to put off alot of heat after the initial burn. I mean you really have to watch pouring on the wood or you’ll be baked right out of our house. It is great for fireplaces but would probably nave a wood stove white hot way too hot. It is difficult to split because of the twisted grain and does indeed take a couple of years to cure. I swear by it oh one can actually listen to the oil in the wood hiss as it burns hot like heck just the ticket for fireplaces where you don’t have the stove putting off the heat once it gets good and hot and tend a smaller fire to keep it hot and then all the maintenance for the fluke but with eucalyptus you need a chimney sweep as well but nothing spells love like an open fire!

  • TITO

    I VERY STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE BEST FIREWOOD IS THE ONE STACKED IN YOUR SHED.SECOND BEST WOULD BE FOLLOWING CALTRANS WHEN THEY DO SOME TREE CLEARING ALONG SECONDARY ROADS.
    MR 50 TONS AUSSIE,IN NORTH-CAL,WE CALL IT 20-25 PICK-UP LOADS.BLACK OAK IS ONE OF THE LONGEST LASTING IN THE STOVE THROUGH THE NIGHT.I DO LOVE BLUE GUM EUCALYPTUS,NOBODY DARE GATHER DRYED UP ROUNDS OF IT ,BUT I FOUND A WAY,MAULE-AX APPROCHE,I’LL TRADE FOR A POEM.
    SWISSIE IN GRINGOLAND

  • larry

    I have burned uck in my fire place for over 20 years and have no problems with it. It does gunk up the chimney faster than oak but is worth it. I give the uke a 6 month cure time and it burns well with little ash. I do advise cutting the uck when it is green as well as split it other wise you are fighting a loosing battle. The saw will throw sparks and the wood does snot split Easley even with a splitter

  • Greg

    I crafted a very detailed post but when I attempted to submit, it was rejected as apparently my captcha code was wrong. In any case, I also attached a file originally from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (southeast Australia, where I live) which includes a list of common Australian firewood species and their various characteristics. Those using non-metric units will need to convert the energy densities. Typical ‘eucalypt’ burnt in the USA is blue gum which I regard as a reasonable compromise in terms of energy density, ‘splitability’, ignitability and remnant coal production. There are species here that have energy density a quarter higher again though, with a considerable increase in splitting difficulty and drying time.

    Here’s the link, anyway…. http://www.flaminhot.com.au/wp-content/themes/Diana/docs/Firewood%20Properties.pdf

  • loren

    My place at 7000 ft in AZ is Ponderosa Pine country. I haul Euc from Phoenix 130 miles away. First, the splitting. The really big rounds I borrowed a 30 ton splitter — anything smaller no go. Some of the smaller rounds the Monster maul worked. One year in low humidity, 7000 ft AZ works. I burn it in a Quadrafire stove, starting it with a handful of pine needles and a walnut size lump of fire starter. When my neighbors hired a chimney sweep to drive 50 miles from Payson, I joined in. He said there was nothing to clean out in my chimney. So, I swear by Euc.

  • Mark Farenden

    I live in the wheatbelt an hour east of Perth, in Western Australia. l am also extremely
    lucky enough to have White Gum aka Wandoo, fallen in last years storms. This is the best timber I have ever burned. With a bed of coals lights quickly, yet lasts along time too. Shut it down at night and solid coals are there in the morning. Give them a tap and put on more and it’s away again. While I’m here, a guy from Maine once said you Aussies need to learn how to sharpen chainsaws, clearly he has never cut any of our timber, that’s grown here, it is known to be amongst the densest timber on the planet. Just be cautious, it drops the biggest widow makers…without warning. And I believe there are several hundred varieties of gum trees, euc’s, I imagine some of our best went to your west coast.

  • Gordon

    Split it green and let it dry out before using it. Split eucalyptus burns, rounds can get a char on the outside and won’t burn well if at all, so split a branch in two rather than leave it as a round.
    Red gum is good as are any of the box trees, Mallee roots are great but they have to dig out great swathes of them and they are so important to the semi-arid environment they come from. Mountain Ash burns fast and hot(I used it to get the red Gum and Ironbark going) but it can burn through a baffle plate if you use it exclusively. I found that messy to fix!
    Winter fires in a slow combustion heater need to have a soot remover tossed into the firebox when you have the coals toward the end of the season. The product helps rid the flue of deposits which are combustible and create scary chimney fires.
    If you use it all the time in a slow combustion stove then use the soot remover at least twice a year, your flue will send you a Christmas card.
    The leaves, twigs and small branches go okay as kindling to get a nice blaze going for the larger pieces. If you store them in gunny sacks they are easy to get at when you load up the kindling bucket.
    Enjoy using our native tree, I sort of like the smell of a eucalyptus fire
    Good luck and burning from a Land Down Under

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