Is Black Locust Firewood Good? BTUs, Identification, Splitting, Seasoning…

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Are you looking for a firewood option that will burn perfectly in your wood stove or fireplace?

Black Locust is one of the best firewood options available.

Thanks to its high heat output, Black Locust is ranked higher than popular types of firewood, such as Oak and Ash. It produces low smoke and high-quality coals that burn throughout the night.

While Black Locust firewood is a great choice to burn, it might bring an entirely different experience when cutting, splitting, and seasoning. 

Black Locust is actually one of my preferred choices when it comes to firewood. So let me tell you about my experience.

Black Locust Tree

is black locust fire wood good

Is locust a hardwood?

Yes, it is.

Black Locust is a fast-growing hardwood tree native to Eastern North America. The tree is also common in Europe, North Africa, and Asia.

The Black Locust tree is easy to identify due to its paired spines and leaves that grow in a left-right pattern. It has an extensive root system and is considered highly invasive.

The tree will grow 80 feet tall and 30 feet wide in well-drained soil and full sun. Black Locust produces dense and heavy wood that’s resistant to rot.

Over the years, people have used Black Locust posts for fencing. Its fence posts can last up to 80 years, longer than treated lumber, without deteriorating.

Due to its high invasiveness, Black Locust needs occasional control measures to avoid rapid growth.

One of the best control measures is to harvest the tree for firewood. You can use a chainsaw to cut down Black Locust trees in and buck them into splittable blocks.

Don’t forget to use thick gloves, as I did at the beginning, to avoid thorn injuries.

There are different varieties of Locust trees worldwide. They are often grown for ornamental purposes, honey production, and firewood.

The most popular types of Locust trees include:

  • Black Locust
  • Frisia Locust
  • Inermis Locust
  • Purple Robe Locust
  • Honey Locust
  • Pyramidalis Locust

Besides Black Locust, you can also use Honey Locust wood for burning.

Honey Locust is actually slightly better in that you’ll get 23.7 MBTU per cord to Black Locust’s 23.2 MBTU per cord.

uses for black locust flowers

Black Locust flowers, as pictured here, also have many uses.

They can be added to things like pancakes and fritters. They also have many medicinal uses.

Unruly Gardening says:

Our favorite way is to turn the flowers in jelly, but you can also eat them raw when out in wild, infuse them in honey, or put them on salads, or as slightly crunchy sandwich fillings.

You can dip them into your favorite pancake batter and fry them, just like fritters.

Make sure you do your research and get advice from experts before using it in cooking or as medicine as some parts of the tree are toxic.

Using Black Locust For Firewood

is black locust firewood good

Is Locust good firewood?

Let’s find out.

Before cutting down or buying Black Locust firewood, there are several things you need to consider.

1. Heat Output

Black Locust is one of the hottest burning firewoods compared to popular hardwood trees like Oak and Ash.

Black Locust firewood BTUs per cord is rated at 29.9 Million. If you enjoy sitting near a hot fire for hours as I do, then Black Locust is a good choice.

Burning Black Locust wood in your fireplace or wood stove provides enough coals to heat your home all night. However, you must season firewood for the best heat output and coals.

2. Smoke

When adequately seasoned, Black Locust firewood emits very little smoke. This makes it an ideal choice for indoor and outdoor burning.

Green or partially seasoned Black Locust firewood will produce a ton of smoke. Always season Black Locust firewood.

3. Smell

Black Locust firewood has a mild scent when on a fire.

I usually combine it with Cherry, Hickory, or Cedar when smoking food or warming the house. This combination will result in a fantastic aroma and excellent coals.

4. Splitting

Splitting Black Locust wood shouldn’t be difficult, provided the wood doesn’t have a lot of twists and branching.

Use a good splitting ax if you want to split the wood manually. If the wood is difficult to split, you could use a 20-ton log splitter.

Split your Black Locust wood between winter and early spring because the wood will have little moisture.

5. Creosote Build-up

Creosote is the black tar gradually trapped in your chimney when burning firewood.

One of the best methods of avoiding creosote is burning less sappy firewood.

Black Locust firewood has low sap levels when fully seasoned. That means when you burn it, it will produce less creosote, saving you time and energy of cleaning your chimney regularly.

6. Seasoning Time

Black Locust firewood has lower sap and resin levels than many hardwood trees.

When cut, its wood can dry up quickly, depending on the climate and how it’s stacked.

The best seasoning time for Black Locust firewood is from one to two years. Drying your firewood for more than a year increases heat output, producing high-quality coals and less smoke.

To speed up your Black Locust firewood drying process, stack it on an open ground where it’ll receive direct sunlight. Raise it a few meters off the ground to allow airflow beneath the firewood.

Black Locust Firewood FAQs

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Black Locust firewood.

You can check out this video of a Stihl 661 being broken in with Black Locust (or here for a Stihl 661 being straight up broken)!

How much does Black Locust firewood cost?

You will likely buy a cord for around $425.

Keep in mind that Black Locust wood prices will vary from state to state.

Black Locust is a highly valued wood due to its quality of fire and resistance to rot when seasoned.

Is it easy to split?

Black Locust can either be moderate or difficult to split, depending on the nature of your wood.

If the wood has a lot of twists and branching, it can be challenging to split.

Quickly, get the job done with a good splitting ax or hydraulic wood splitter.

Is Black Locust good for the fireplace?

Yes. It is a good choice to burn in your fireplace.

When seasoned, the firewood produces a higher heat output, long-lasting coals, and less smoke.

What color is Black Locust Wood?

The color of Black Locust wood ranges from dark brown to pale greenish-yellow.

As it continues to age, the wood appears russet brown. It’s possible to confuse the wood with Osage Orange or Honey Locust.

Is Black Locust smoke toxic?

No. Black Locust firewood emits less smoke that’s non-toxic.

When combined with other sweet-smelling woods such as cedar or hickory, they can emit a pleasant smell in your house or be used to smoke meat.

Is Black Locust Good Firewood?

This firewood is a safe bet if you are looking for good firewood with a higher heat output to warm your house during cold months.

When seasoned, Black Locust firewood has a higher heat value than most top-tier hardwood trees and produces enough coals to burn through the night.

You can combine it with a softer cheaper wood, like poplar, to make it last longer, but you won’t go wrong solely using black locust.


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