What wood for logs and firewood - What trees are best to burn?

burning log fire

Not many people are aware that the burning of wood on your fire doesn't generate any more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) than if it were to simply rot away on the ground in the woods.

 It is therefore far more environmentally sustainable than burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

A real fire is an excellent choice if you're fortunate enough to have a wood burner or open fire in your home and this guide is intended to give you a rough idea of what to put on/ in it.


  • Alder - Not really ideal for building a fire as it doesn't generate much heat and it doesn't last long.
  • Apple - A great wood to use as it burns slowly and steadily with not much flame but it gives out good heat. It also has a pleasant smell.
  • Ash - Another great one as it gives off good flame and heat and it can burn whilst still green if you don't have the chance to dry it first.
  • Beech - Similar to ash, though not quite as good as it's less easy to burn when green.
  • Birch - Gives off good heat but it does burn rather quickly. It also has a pleasant smell.
  • Blackthorn - A really great wood as it burns slowly and gives off good heat and isn't too smoky.
  • Cedar - Although difficult to come by, this a good choice for a fire as it doesn't have a huge flame but gives out plenty of heat. It has a beautiful aroma but it needs to be fully dried before use.If you like a crackling fire, go for this if you can get hold of it.
  • Cherry - A slow burner with good heat and a nice smell.
  • Douglas Fir - Not ideal as it has a small flame and doesn't give out much heat.
  • Elder - This isn't ideal as it's very smoky and burns too fast with little heat.
  • Elm - A difficult one to gauge as it can sometimes( though not always), smoke a great deal. If you want to keep your house warm at night, a large elm log will burn well into the night.
  • Hawthorn - This is similar to blackthorn and a good choice for a fire.
  • Hazel - Another good solid choice.
  • Holly- Needs to be dried out properly first but still a good wood.
  • Hornbeam - Similar to beech although not quite as good.
  • Horse Chestnut - This does tend to spit a lot so it's best avoided if you have a rug in fron of the fire. It has a good flame and burns well with good heat.
  • Larch - Pretty good for its heating properties and smell. It's also quite crackly.
  • Laurel -A fair choice with a very bright flame.
  • Lime - Avoid if possible as it burns with a very dull flame.
  • Maple - A reasonable choice for most fires.
  • Oak - Whilst it doesn't have a big flame, it's great when properly dried. It gives out a great heat and burns slowly and steadily. It produces very little ash but it does have a rather acrid smell.
  • Pear - A nice smell and provides good heat.
  • Pine - This can spit quite a lot but it has a lovely flame.
  • Plane - Difficult to come by but burns well. It can be a bit sparky if it's very dry.
  • Plum - A nice scent with good heat.
  • Poplar - Not really ideal. Avoid if you can.
  • Rhododendron - Another tricky one to come by but the thicker stems are robust and burn well.
  • Robinia - Also known as Acacia. Hard to get but burns slowly and gives out good heat. This is another one with rather acrid smoke.
  • Spruce - Avoid this wood as it sparks a lot and burns too quickly.
  • Sycamore - A reasonable choice as it gives off a moderate heat and has a good flame.
  • *Walnut - Not easy to get hold of but it does have a nice aroma.
  • Willow - Not a good choice as it burns too slowly, only has a small flame and is prone to spit and spark.
  • Yew - A really good choice as it burns very slowly and gives off great heat with a lovely smell.

If you live in London, Kent or Norfolk, take a quick look at our logs, firewood and woodchips page to see if we have a supply near where you live.