Is Cherry Firewood Good for Burning? A Scientific View

As winter nights grow colder and the allure of a crackling fire beckons, few things can rival the charm and beauty of cherry firewood. From its rich red hue to its delightful aroma, cherry firewood is a popular choice for practical and aesthetic reasons. But there’s more to discover about this unique, versatile wood.

Wondering whether cherry firewood is good for burning? Read on as we delve into the captivating qualities of cherry firewood, its characteristics, and why it’s a top pick for firewood enthusiasts.

Is Cherry Good Firewood?

Cherry firewood is excellent for burning. It has high energy content, resulting in a hot and long-lasting fire. Cherry wood produces a pleasant aroma and burns with minimal creosote buildup, making it a desirable choice for firewood.

When used as firewood, cherry wood burns hot and long, providing ample heat for warming up space or cooking.

Its high BTU (British Thermal Units) rating means that it produces a substantial amount of heat per cord of wood, making it an efficient option for heating.

In addition to its heat output, cherry wood offers a pleasant aroma when burned, adding a natural fragrance. The aroma of cherry wood is sweet and mildly fruity, creating an inviting atmosphere around the fire.

This makes it a popular choice for fireplaces, wood stoves, and outdoor fire pits, where the aroma can enhance the overall experience.

Another benefit of cherry wood for burning is that it produces minimal creosote buildup. Creosote is a flammable substance that accumulates in chimneys and stovepipes, posing a fire hazard if not cleaned regularly.

When properly seasoned and burned, Cherry wood produces minimal creosote, reducing the risk of chimney fires and the need for frequent cleaning.

Characteristics of Cherry Firewood

Cherry wood has unique characteristics, making it a popular choice for firewood. Here are some key aspects of this wood:


The density of cherry wood can vary, but on average, it ranges from 35 to 43 pounds per cubic foot. This makes cherry wood denser than many other types of firewood, such as pine or fir. The high density is crucial in cherry wood’s impressive heat output and long-lasting burn time.

Moisture Content

Cherry wood has a relatively low moisture content, typically 15% to 20%. It’s, therefore, relatively dry compared to other types of firewood, which can have higher moisture content.

Lower moisture content in firewood is desirable as it allows for more efficient combustion and produces less smoke and creosote buildup.

BTU (British Thermal Units) Value

Cherry wood has a BTU value of about 20-26 million BTUs per cord of wood. The high BTU value means cherry wood produces significant heat when burned, making it an excellent option for heating homes during the colder months.

Why Cherry Firewood Is Good for Burning

Below are the top reasons that make cherry wood good for burning.

High Heat Output

Due to its density and high BTU value, cherry wood produces high heat when burned. This feature makes it ideal for heating homes or providing warmth during chilly evenings or colder seasons.

The high heat output of cherry wood can effectively warm up a room or an entire house, depending on the fire’s size and the wood’s quality.

Long Burn Time

Cherry wood’s density and low moisture content contribute to its long burn time. Cherry wood burns slowly and consistently, producing a sustained heat output for an extended period.

Expect cherry wood to last longer compared to other types of firewood, reducing the need for frequent reloading and providing a steady source of heat.

Less Creosote Buildup

Thanks to cherry wood’s relatively low moisture content, it produces less smoke and creosote buildup in the chimney.

Cherry wood’s lower creosote buildup makes it a safer option for firewood, reducing the risk of chimney fires.

Easy to Split and Season

Due to its low moisture content, cherry wood splits easily and drys quickly. This feature makes it easier to process and season than hardwoods.

Properly seasoned cherry wood burns more efficiently and produces less smoke, making it a good option for firewood.

Pleasant Aroma

When burned, cherry wood produces a pleasant and distinct aroma that many find appealing. The natural scent of cherry wood adds to the overall experience of having a fire and can create an inviting atmosphere in a home or outdoor setting.

Attractive Appearance

Cherry wood has a unique reddish-brown color with distinctive grain patterns, which can create a visually appealing fire. When burned, the beautiful appearance of cherry wood adds to its aesthetic appeal and can enhance the visual appeal of a fireplace or wood stove.

The unique color and grain pattern of cherry wood can make it a desirable option for those who value the appearance of a fire and its heat output.

Proper Preparation and Storage of Cherry Firewood

Proper preparation and storage of cherry firewood are essential to ensure it burns efficiently and safely in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Below are some tips to follow when preparing and storing this firewood.

Season the Firewood

Freshly cut cherry wood contains high moisture content, which makes it difficult to burn and can create excessive creosote buildup in your chimney. It’s advisable to season cherry firewood before using it as firewood.

Seasoning involves allowing the wood to dry out for 6-12 months, depending on the thickness of the wood. Split the cherry wood into smaller pieces to speed up the drying process, and stack it in a well-ventilated area, preferably off the ground and protected from rain and snow.

Keep it Dry

Once your cherry firewood is properly seasoned, store it in a dry location. Avoid exposing the firewood to rain, snow, or excessive moisture, as it can cause the wood to reabsorb water and reduce its quality as firewood.

A woodshed or a covered firewood rack is ideal for storing cherry firewood. The shed should protect it from the elements while allowing proper airflow.

Stack it Properly

It’s best to stack cherry firewood neat and orderly. Create a stable and secure stack by placing the wood in a crisscross pattern, with the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller pieces on top.

This process allows for proper airflow, helping to season the wood further and prevent mold or mildew growth.

Elevate it From the Ground

Elevate the wood off the ground to prevent moisture from wicking into the firewood. Use a firewood rack or pallets to keep the wood at least 2-4 inches off the ground. This step helps to prevent decay, insect infestation, and mold growth.

Cover it Properly

While allowing for proper airflow is vital, you should also cover your cherry firewood to protect it from rain or snow. To keep it dry, use a waterproof cover extending beyond the woodpile’s edges.

Avoid plastic covers, as they trap moisture and promote mold growth. Instead, opt for a breathable canvas or tarp cover that allows air circulation.

Rotate Your Stock

To ensure you’re always using correctly seasoned cherry firewood, it’s a good practice to rotate your stock. Use the oldest wood first and replenish your stock with newly seasoned wood. This way, you’ll always have well-seasoned firewood available for use.

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Cherry Firewood

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding cherry firewood.

A common myth is that cherry firewood produces a lot of heat. While cherry firewood is classified as a hardwood, it might not generate as much heat as denser hardwoods like oak or hickory. Cherry wood might require frequent reloading in the fireplace or stove to maintain a consistent heat output.

Another misconception is that cherry firewood burns without producing any smoke. In reality, all wood generates smoke when burned, including cherry firewood.

Factors such as moisture content, chimney condition, and burning conditions can affect the amount of smoke produced. Properly seasoned cherry firewood with low moisture content can help minimize smoke, but it may still generate some.

There is also a myth that cherry firewood has a strong and pleasant aroma when burned. While cherry wood does have a distinct scent, it may not necessarily be strong or universally pleasing when burned. The aroma of burning cherry firewood can vary depending on the wood’s age and condition.

There is also a myth that cherry firewood is the best wood for cooking or smoking. While cherry wood is used for cooking or smoking due to its mild and sweet flavor, it may not necessarily be the best wood for all types of cooking or smoking.

The ideal wood for cooking or smoking can vary depending on personal preferences, the food type, and the cooking method used. Other hardwoods like apple, hickory, or oak are popular for cooking or smoking, and the best wood for a particular situation may vary.

Lastly, there is a misconception that cherry firewood is readily available and inexpensive. However, cherry wood is often used for furniture or cabinetry.

Finding a good supply of seasoned cherry firewood may require effort or be more expensive than common firewood options like oak or maple. The availability and price of cherry firewood can vary depending on location and local market conditions.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Firewood Cherry:

  • High BTU content
  • Pleasant aroma
  • Low moisture content
  • Easy to split
  • Long burn time

Cons of Cherry Firewood Cherry:

  • Cost: Cherry firewood can be more expensive than other firewood options, as cherry trees are slow-growing and may not be as readily available in some areas.
  • Hardness: Cherry wood can be dense and hard, making it challenging to split without proper tools or equipment.
  • Sparks: Cherry wood can produce more sparks than other hardwoods, which can be a potential safety hazard if used in an open fireplace or wood stove.
  • Limited availability: Cherry trees may not be as abundant in some regions, which could make it difficult to source cherry firewood locally.
  • Staining potential: Cherry wood has a rich, reddish-brown color that can transfer onto surfaces when handled, which may require extra cleaning or maintenance if you use it for indoor fires.

Comparisons With Other Firewood Types

Let’s compare cherry firewood with other types of firewood:

Oakwood vs. Cherry Wood

Oakwood is a popular choice for firewood because of its high heat output and long burn time. It produces a steady, consistent flame with a good amount of coals, which makes it ideal for heating large spaces.

However, oakwood can take longer to season (dry) than cherrywood, as it tends to have a higher moisture content when freshly cut.

Maplewood vs. Cherry Firewood

Maplewood is another hardwood commonly used as firewood. It produces good heat and a nice flame, although it may not burn as long as oakwood or cherrywood.

Maplewood is relatively easy to split and tends to season faster than oakwood, making it a good option for those who need firewood ready to burn sooner.

Pinewood vs. Cherry

Pinewood is a softwood used as firewood due to its availability and affordability. It ignites easily and produces a good amount of heat, but it tends to burn faster than hardwoods like cherry, oak, or maple wood.

Pine wood can also create more creosote buildup in chimneys, so regular chimney maintenance is essential.

Hickory Wood vs. Cherry

Hickory wood is a dense hardwood known for its excellent heat output and long burn time. It’s often considered one of the best firewood options due to its excellent burning characteristics and the pleasant aroma it produces when burned.

However, hickory wood can be more difficult to split and may require additional seasoning time than cherrywood.

Birchwood vs. Firewood Cherry

Birchwood is a hardwood known for its bright flames and good heat output. It’s relatively easy to split and tends to season faster than other hardwoods. Birchwood also produces less creosote compared to softwoods like pine, making it a good option for those concerned about chimney maintenance.

So, Is Cherry Good Firewood?

Cherry is an excellent firewood due to its high energy content and desirable burning properties. It burns hot and produces a steady, long-lasting fire with minimal creosote buildup, making it an efficient choice for heating. 

Cherry firewood produces a pleasant aroma and creates beautiful glowing embers, making it a popular choice for warmth and ambiance in a fireplace or wood stove.

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