Osage orange, also known as hedge apple or Bois D’arc, is a tree native to the central United States. This type of wood is known for being very dense and hard, making it a good choice for use as firewood.
Because of its density, it burns slowly and can provide long-lasting, steady heat. It is also relatively easy to split, which makes it convenient to use in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
In general, Osage orange is considered to be good firewood because of its high energy content and ability to burn for a long time without producing too much smoke.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to using Osage orange firewood, such as its tendency to spark and its robust and unpleasant odor when burning.
Whether or not Osage orange is a good choice for firewood depends on individual preferences and the user’s specific needs.
What is the performance of Osage orange firewood? Why should you chop down that tree? Does it make sense to spend your time and money on it? Let’s examine whether Osage oranges should be burned.
What Is Osage Orange?
A small deciduous tree or shrub, the Osage orange or Maclura pomifera, is native to North America. There is a characteristic bumpy appearance and bright yellow fruit on this tree that grows to less than 50 feet tall.
If damaged, these fruits release a sticky white fluid called latex. The orange trees for which we commonly harvest citrus fruit are not related to these trees despite their confusing name.
Humans and foraging animals ignore the fruit because it isn’t delicious. They have thick, fleshy roots, round, deeply furrowed bark, and short trunks with rounded tops.
Squatty in appearance, they are known for their hard, strong, and flexible wood. Most Osage orange trees grow in North America but are also found in Italy, India, and the former Soviet Union. To grow, it needs fertile soil with deep roots.
Is Orange Wood Good Firewood?
The Osage orange burns hot and slowly when used as firewood. It is known to be an extremely hot firewood, as Osage orange is an orange-colored wood. This is one of the hottest, burning, and hardest woods east of the Rocky Mountains.
Compared to oaks, hickories, and other Eastern hardwoods, it burns the hottest. There is a claim that it burns as hot as coal. As a result of its high burn temperature, Osage orange is known to warp wood stoves. You should take caution not to overload your wood stove.
You need to be careful with it and keep your fires smaller than you would with other woods, but this does not mean it is not good firewood. This can be easier to accomplish if you have an airtight stove regulating air intake.
The scent of orange is a pleasant one, and it makes excellent firewood that has a high heat output and burns slowly. Although this dense wood takes a while to season appropriately, you’ll get fuel that burns clean and smells pleasant.
Osage Orange Firewood BTU
This tree might be the world’s best firewood if you are willing to frequently deal with thorns and sharpen chainsaw blades. This may be demonstrated by a glance at Osage orange’s heating properties.
Since this dense wood produces 32.9 million BTUs per cord of firewood, it is the hottest-burning wood east of the Rocky Mountains. Keeping that heat manageable is necessary to prevent a wood-burning stove from warping.
An Osage orange that has been properly seasoned will produce very little smoke. Whenever you light an indoor fire, it makes good firewood, and the smoke won’t irritate your eyes.
Among the top hardwoods, ash, hickory, and Osage oranges produce very little smoke after drying. If you burn moisture-laden wood, you will produce a lot of smoke. There is less smoke produced by Osage orange compared to alternatives like Douglas fir, pine, birch, and elm.
Firewood produces coals that can affect the performance of a fire when it is lit and how long it lasts. Campfires and homes will remain warm all night long with wood with good cooling properties. The following morning, it can also be used to re-light a fire by adding a few small logs.
In addition to being a dense hardwood, Osage orange produces great heat when burned. Wood stoves can easily burn one large log all night. Osage orange is a much better coaling wood than pine, basswood, aspen, or fir.
What About The Smell?
Some types of firewood produce an enticing, homey smell that gives your house a cozy feel. When you smoke meat regularly, you should also be aware of the aroma wood emits.
Mild and slightly citrus-like, the scent of the Osage orange is distinctive. Smokers and grills rarely use it, even though most people enjoy its aroma. Cooking with it isn’t recommended because of its high burn temperature.
Splitting Osage Orange Firewood
Splitting and cutting Osage oranges can be challenging. When it is still green, it is best to split and cut it. It’s best to split Osage Oranges when they’re frozen. A temperature of 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit is usually sufficient.
Before splitting the firewood, it is crucial not to let it dry out. The wood becomes extremely hard to chop into pieces during the seasoning process. If the rounds have dried out, they will probably need to be split using a chainsaw or hydraulic splitter.
It is easier to split Osage oranges than with elm, gum, or beech most of the time. It is possible, however, to get unlucky and end up with the crotch of the tree, which is notoriously difficult to split. It will be difficult to chop through this twisted wood. A freezing day is the best time to split tough wood as it comes apart more easily.
In addition to being decay resistant, this wood also makes excellent fence posts. Woodturning, archery bows, and small crafts are made from hard, dense wood.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Osage Orange Wood?
Depending on the size of the pieces, Osage orange takes between six months and two years to dry. It is important to split the wood before drying. There is a remarkable similarity between dry Osage orange and iron.
Tips For Splitting and Seasoning Osage Orange Firewood
Chainsaw chains also have a hard time cutting through the dense wood. Bringing along a couple of extra sharp chains will go a long way if you cut Osage oranges for a day.
Using this tool, you will not have to spend all day filing a chain to keep it sharp. Splitting the wood while it is green is also a good idea.
As long as it’s still wet, you can split it, but as soon as it’s dried out, you won’t be able to. Quite challenging, to be honest! As a result of their hardness and density, Osage oranges are particularly difficult to work with.
The best way to burn split firewood is to let it season for about 6-12 months before burning it. We wouldn’t recommend burning Osage orange firewood if it was green, even though it’s not a particularly “wet” wood.
In addition to reducing the overall heat output and making it more difficult to start the fire, it can also increase creosote buildup.
What About Sap Content?
Regardless of how well you’ve dried and seasoned your Osage orange firewood, it still releases a great deal of sap. In texture, consistency, and color, the sap resembles that of the fruits – a thick, sticky, white substance containing latex.
If you burn your Osage orange wood, the latex will ignite immediately and produce sparks. Burning wood in an open fireplace can be dangerous because of this constant shower of hot sparks. It’s best to burn this firewood outside whenever possible.
Drawbacks Of Osage Orange Firewood
There is nothing relaxing about sitting in front of fire-burning Osage oranges. A constant shower of sparks can transform your fireplace into a miniature firework display once the wood starts to heat up.
During sparking, the sap is released from the wood, which contains latex and is a thick, sticky substance. Suddenly exposing a fire to air will cause sparks to explode dramatically.
If you allow the sap to dry out before burning, the spark shower can be mitigated but not completely eliminated.
It’s always a good idea to be safe, even with dry wood. You should never burn Osage orange in an open fireplace and always keep an eye on the fire.
Storing Osage Orange Firewood
Besides burning hot and long, it also resists rot, making it a good long-term storage option.
Additionally, the wood produces compounds that repel insects, reducing the risk of damage to your firewood stash from insect invasions. According to some people, firewood made with Osage oranges sometimes burns too hot.
When you fail to take extra precautions and steps to keep the temperature down, it sometimes burns hot enough to damage or warp wood-burning stoves.
Mixing things up a bit is the easiest way to burn Osage orange wood safely. You can burn hedges with other popular hardwoods like ash, beech, and maple instead of burning them alone.
You will be able to capture all the great heating properties of the wood without making the fire too hot.
What’s The Wood Used For?
As a natural wind barrier, these trees were historically planted by the millions in the Red River Valley of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. Soil erosion was reduced by creating these “hedgerows.”.
Occasionally, Osage orange trees were also used to keep livestock out of cornfields and vegetable patches. In severe pruning, the tree produces thorns that provide a solid barrier.
Since the wood’s branches were strong but pliable, Native Americans used them to make bows. A common name for the tree is “bodark,” derived from the French word for “bow wood.”
Because the tree can be buried in the ground for decades without rotting or being attacked by insects, it is commonly used for fence posts and firewood.
How Much Does Osage Orange Firewood Cost To Buy?
Because Osage orange is not widely available, it is more expensive firewood than alternatives. The cost per cord ranges from $400 to $500, depending on your location and season. Depending on where you live, you’ll also be able to purchase Osage orange firewood for about $6 a bundle.
Can You Burn Osage Orange Wood In A Wood Stove?
Because of Osage orange’s high smoke production, you should ensure adequate ventilation when burning it indoors. Additionally, it burns very hotly, so you should build a smaller fire with fewer logs than usual.
Having a wood stove that burns so hot can warp Osage orange, so keep that in mind before you start burning it. Burning wood indoors can result in the smoke generation and sap ignition if it is not properly seasoned.
Is Osage Orange Wood Toxic?
It is not recommended to burn Osage orange in a fire. A bad reputation for poisonous fruits was owed to their size, which caused livestock to choke on them.
It is ideal for extremely cold weather to consume Osage oranges. You should save this wood for the depths of winter if you only have a limited supply.
It may be better to use maple, birch, or another variety that doesn’t burn fiercely during shoulder season. If you want to combine Osage with a wood that doesn’t burn so hot, you might like to use another type of wood.
The quality firewood you get is definitely worth the extra trouble, even though it may be harder to harvest than other types of firewood.