Elm Firewood: [Splitting, Seasoning Time, BTU]

elm firewood

Are you going to be using a fire to heat up your home this winter?

A good fire is really one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your home warm during the winter.

Before you grab your axe and head out of the door, you need to make sure that you have the right firewoodOpens in a new tab..

Some wood is good for this purpose, but others are not.

Elm is not the best firewood you can find. Most people will agree that it is okay, but not perfect. The elm wood has interlocking grain and surprising strength that makes it very difficult to split.

There are pros and cons associated with using elm firewood. It can put out a significant amount of heat, but it can be very difficult to split.

If you have limited choices and you have elm on hand, you should definitely give it a try.

It’ll burn good once you’ve managed to get it split.

More about that will be provided below.

Dutch Elm Disease

Elm FirewoodIf you’re going to be working with elm, it would be wise to learn about DED or Dutch elm disease.

This is a disease that kills elm trees. With that being said, you shouldn’t be surprised to find a lot of dead, but standing elm trees around your area.

Using standing, dead elm trees is a good idea. After all, the wood is going to be almost dry when it is cut down.

This means that you’ll be able to use it much faster than you would otherwise.

Splitting Elm Firewood

Again, attempting to split elm firewood is going to be incredibly tough. You’re going to have a very difficult time trying to split the wood by hand.

Nevertheless, it is possible.

Just make sure that you start at the edges. Also, be sure that you’re using a very sharp axe. You can also try using wedges.

With a little bit of patience and a lot of elbow grease, you’ll be able to get it split.

If you want to make things much easier on yourself, you’ll want to skip that and buy yourself a wood splitter.

That will make the process quick and easy!

The only downside is that buying a wood splitter is going to be a little expensive.

Elm Firewood Seasoning

Elm Firewood

Before you can begin burning elm or any other type of firewood, you have to let it dry thoroughly. Some woods can be lit when they’re a little wet.

This is not the case with elm firewood.

This type of wood is not going to burn well when wet. At the same time, the seasoning time can be lengthy.

In order for the wood to be ready for a fire, it is generally best to let it dry completely for at least one year.

If you want to be on the safe side, you’ll let it dry for two years. This is the best way to ensure that the wood is going to burn well.

When storing the wood, you need to make sure that it is elevated and off the ground.

You might want to look into a moisture meter to test the moisture content before you burn it. You can find them on Amazon for a decent price.

Here is a link to the one I have. Moisture MeterOpens in a new tab. (Link To Amazon). Just make sure its 20% or lower and it’s safe to burn.

Elm Firewood BTU

While you’re at it, you’ll want to take a look at the BTU of elm.

Remember that there are several species of elm and that can really have an impact on its BTU rating.

If you’re going to be working with Siberian Elm, the wood will most likely be able to produce 20.9 million BTUs. With American Elm, the BTU is going to drop to 20 million.

Either way, both are great as firewood if you’re able to get it split and dried completely.

Is Elm Wood Toxic

Elm wood is not toxic to humans, but it can be harmful to other animals.

The bark and leaves of the elm tree are the most toxic parts of the plant, containing a substance called phorbol.

This substance can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and cats, and can also be harmful to livestock.

If your animal comes into contact with any part of the elm tree, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.


Elm is a decent firewood. It isn’t your best choice, but it works. If you’re going to be working with elm, you’ll definitely want to buy a wood splitter.

Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting too much time and you might even injure yourself.

The good news is that elm does burn great when it is completely dry.

So, you’ll need to be patient if elm is your top choice.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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