is Cottonwood good firewood or softwood? (Quick Answer!)

Cottonwood has always been a mysterious tree providing plenty of natural assets. Well, maybe that’s why people always ask questions about it. Thereby, the most common/confusing wonder is whether is Cottonwood Good Firewood or Softwood.

Regarding that, some consider Cottonwood to be a poor choice as firewood. Whereas others are quite fond of burning it in the fireplace.

Cottonwood is a good type of firewood, that’s easier to season and split to use. Along with that, it works like a precious nature properly enriched with essential stuff.

Although Cottonwood gets lots of misleading opinions, a lot of people still regard it as the best firewood.

Considering all those confusing thoughts about Cottonwood Firewood, you better get ahead to look at all the thorough details. Thus, learn clearly about Cottonwood as a tree and as Firewood to get over the wrong information.

Cottonwood firewood thumbnail

What Is Cottonwood? – Origin of Cottonwood

Before, anything else, first, let’s learn some details about the Cottonwood tree and all. So, here are the details of the origin of Cottonwood –

The Cottonwood Firewood, it’s widely called The Poplar, the tall and rapidly growing Cottonwood tree, which is very renowned. Well, it is because the seeds (airborne) growing in this tree looks so similar to cotton.

Further, Cottonwood aka eastern Populus Cottonwood is one of the biggest trees native to North America. To be precise it is far ranged throughout the Southern region of Canada and the Eastern region of the USA.

Moreover, the Deciduous Black Poplar is available all around Northern & Southern Mexico & USA and is native in Europe and Western Asia as well.

Now, after knowing all this let’s proceed ahead with some more knowledge about Poplar Firewood.

Is Cottonwood A Hardwood or Softwood?

Many people claim that Cottonwood is Hardwood. While some of the other men say it must be a Softwood. Thereby, a small number of people are always in confusion:’).

To be precise, any tree that’s a deciduous tree (the tree that sheds leave seasonally) is classified as Hardwood. So, Cottonwood is Hardwood and that’s legally stated.

However, some will say that this tree wood is not so hard as many Hardwoods. Well, of course, hardwood trees are harder naturally than softwoods. But regardless, the classification of hardwood got nothing to do with the wood hardness.

Thus, Cottonwood is completely a hardwood, but a soft-delicate hardwood tree.

How Can You Tell if Firewood Is Cottonwood?

Usually, you can identify a tree by its seeds only. However, in case it’s not particularly the right season for seeds, you’ll be able to recognize a Cottonwood tree via its broad, ashy gray tree trunk.

So, to tell if the firewood is a Cottonwood tree follow through the steps given –

  •  Cottonwood tree bark contains ridges. They are very long, deep, thick, dark, and rough.
  • The leaves are bright green in the summer season which changes into a vibrant yellow in the fall.
  •  Cottonwood tree only grows in places that receive tons of moisture, along with proper sunlight.
  • Each leaf is generally 3/4 inches in length, has curvy teeth line edges, and is deltoid in shape.
  • Lastly, Cottonwood trees are typically native and a few of the tallest hardwoods in Europe, the United States, and in some regions of Asia.

Why Cottonwood is Good for Firewood?

Well, all firewood is different and isn’t created the same way. Again, sometimes you need to burn anything available to you. However, if you need to make a choice, you must pick the best, and the most suitable firewood for you.

Why Cottonwood is Good for Firewood

Therefore, Cottonwood is generally quite good for firewood. As it’s a hardwood that gets split very smoothly after being seasoned moderately, it burns neatly fast and generates a decent amount of heat.

However, if it’s not seasoned properly, it burns slowly while producing a stinky aroma and a lot of ashes.

Keep reading ahead for knowing more, and you’ll also prefer to use firewood. Here are some good reasons for using Cottonwood as firewood –

  • Common, easily available in America
  • Relatively produces a large amount of heat
  • Dry ones split and ignite very fast

How Long It Takes to Season Cottonwood for Firewood?

 Cottonwood is quite stringy, damp, and hefty while it’s green. This makes it very difficult to move elsewhere and split. Also, as it’s very moist in the green state, it gets stuck with splitting maul and sucks a lot. So, splitting Cottonwood becomes very easy after you season it to dry properly.

So, how long does it need to season Cottonwood for Firewood?

As it’s moist a lot, you need to let the wood season for at least 1-2 years before you cut/split it. After, you split it up, stack the split woods off the ground, and cover the top of the stack for better results.

In case, you need to make fire soon enough, then you can just stack the Cottonwood Firewood splits for at least two weeks.

But I recommend you to stack or season the firewood for a bit longer period. Here is why –

  1. Longer seasoning makes the firewood nicely dry, and cleaner.
  2. Moistness or anything leaking out from the green split gets away after drying (For example Pine Firewood creates a lot of pitch that gums up with your hands, cutting saw when it’s green).
  3. The Sap produced from green Cottonwood can mess up everywhere it touches leaving stains on your clothes and accessories.

N.B: The only way to get rid of sap stains is using WD-40 Lubricant or Nail Polish Remover.

Can You Burn Cottonwood in Your Fireplace?

Burning Cottonwood in your fireplace is completely safe if it’s seasoned thoroughly. If not, you’ll end with just a pile of smelly smoke.

Burn Cottonwood in Your Fireplace

Most of the time, people use Cottonwood along with Pine softwood in the fireplace. That’s to make the best fire to heat the house, as sometimes Cottonwood doesn’t heat up much on its own (it mostly depends on the seasoning).

Thereby, the Green firewood tends to produce smoke and smolder that typically builds creosote like in the fire stove or chimney. Creosote is the condensed form of unburned, small parts of firewood coating, sticking, and drying to the chimney surface/sides.

Every firewood makes creosote, similarly, Cottonwood creates a lot of ash after burning. Thereby, when the dry Cottonwood is ignited, it’ll burn fast, and create a lot of heat although burning doesn’t last long.

Also read: Is Pine Wood Good For Burning In A Fireplace?

Heat Output and Efficiency of Cottonwood?

The heat output/unit of Cottonwood firewood is quite moderate with a reasonably low BTU. Regarding that, the heating unit of this firewood is 15.8 to 16.8 million BTUs per pounds/cord.

Normally, a cord of Cottonwood is roughly equivalent to the following general heat sources below –

  • 15,700 cu ft. Standard Natural Gas
  • 4,777 Kilowatts per hour of Electricity
  • 118 imp gal Heating Oil
  • 178 imp gal Propane

N. B:

…BTU refers to British Thermal Unit. 1 BTU equals the required heat energy to heat 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit

One Cord of Firewood stands for 128 cu ft wood. Usually, firewood is sliced into 16-inch lengths stacked in 3 lines. The whole stack is 128 cubic feet in total with 8 feet long and 4 feet height measure…

Why Is Cottonwood not Good for Burning?

Well, there’s nothing like Cottonwood is not good for burning or it’s bad firewood. More likely, it is caused by inappropriate seasoning.

  • Green Cottonwood can emit an unpleasant aroma before burning as well.
  • Unseasoned Cottonwood trunks are her hard to split
  • Incomplete seasoned Cottonwood leaks cat pee smell while burning
  • Improperly dry Poplar firewood doesn’t ignite and heat up fairly
  • Burns out very quickly, and creates a lot of ashes afterward.

What is Cottonwood Used for?

I get a lot of hate comments saying Cottonwood is stinky Junk. But you know what? It’s not that at all. All the trees and woods are natural treasures with significant value, and each species holds a clear significance.

  • Cottonwood burl and cluster have always been utilized for creating fine arts and accessories over the decades. Like framing, shelving, shipping crates, saddles, caskets, paneling, subfloors, and box pallets can be created from Fibrous Cottonwood.
  • This tree grows quite rapidly and is famous for getting 6 feet taller every year. That’s why it’s superior for timber production.
  • Since ancient times Cottonwood sap is great for folk herbal medicine and remedies.
  • Highly used for mimicking Walnut and cherry woods and also gets exported for making toothpicks.

Is Cottonwood Good Firewood? closing thoughts:

For a long time, Cottonwood has been underrated without a proper explanation.

Well, our straightforward guidelines and information have already acknowledged you enough about this clean firewood. If you’re still worried try mixing it with other woods and get the worthy result.