Osage orange (scientific name: Maclura pomifera) is very dense firewood. Despite the word “orange” in its name, the tree displays no properties of citrus or orange whatsoever. It is well known for being the type of firewood that burns extremely hot. Hedge, horse apple or Bodark are some other commonly used names for Osage orange.
Is osage orange good firewood? Kind of. It burns extremely hot, doesn’t mean it isn’t good firewood. When fires are kept smaller than the ones with other types of wood, it, in fact, becomes a safer option. It sparks a lot. So it’s better to burn this along with other hardwoods like beech, maple, etc.
As mentioned earlier, it produces a lot of sparks and turns your fireplace into a fireworks exhibit. On account of its density, Osage orange firewood may be ideal for outdoor wood furnaces.
The term “Bodark” is originated from a French word which means “bow wood”. It burns extremely hot and its comparison is right up there with coal! It is said to be warmer than Oak, Hickory or any other type of hardwood. Because it burns so hot, this kind of firewood is known to warp wood stoves. Loading up the wood stove could lead to a redesigned stove.
The branches of this tree contain sharp, prickly thorns, so one has to be careful while cutting the tree down. The stump of the bodark reproduces multiple thorny branches that grow quickly to replace the existing tree. It has high decay resistance (Doesn’t rot) and hence makes excellent fence posts as well.
Chainsaws have been known to spark when cutting this wood, and thus it also goes by the name Ironwood. Other scientific names in the past for Osage orange have been Ioxylon pomiferum and Toxylon pomiferum.
Splitting Osage Orange Firewood
Split the wood while it’s green’ is a saying we have all known since the dawn of time. Wet wood is easier to split than dry wood. This is true of any type of wood.
It is not totally unacceptable to burn green wood, but seasoned bodark firewood provides much better results. Splitting leads to exposure of the insides of the wood to air and sunlight. It quickens the process of seasoning, which is the next step of firewood burning.
[Related Article: How To Split Wood By Hand]
Seasoning Osage Orange Firewood
It is essential to dry the wood for the best results because greenwood is harder to ignite. Unseasoned wood also contributes more to creosote build up in your chimney. So, after splitting, just let it rest, away from rain for 6-12 months.
Depending on the size of logs, complete seasoning of Osage orange may even take up to two years. Stacking is also a process that speeds up the drying of your firewood. There are a few points to be kept in mind while stacking Osage orange firewood.
- Choose the ideal spot for stacking the wood. The wood has to rest there for a long time. So you must choose a place that you won’t be using for a long time.
- Direct source of sunlight quickens the process.
- It is better if logs are not placed directly on top of the soil.
- Ensure to give ample space for air circulation.
- Don’t stack more than 4 feet high.
- During wet times of the year, it’s a good idea to cover the wood, preferably using plastic, as it allows no water to seep in the wood.
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 Meter (Link To Amazon). Just make sure its 20% or lower and it’s safe to burn.
The volume of dry firewood and pulpwood is measured in “Cords” in US and Canada (1 cord = 128 cubic feet)
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. The BTU is the traditional unit of heat. It is a part of the United States customary units, which is a counterpart for the metric system. One BTU is roughly the heat generated by one match stick.
BTU is also used as a unit of power, for heating and cooling systems. Though it is often abbreviated to Btu, the correct implementation is BTU/H (BTU per hour). Osage orange weighs 4792 lbs per cord. It produces 32.9 million BTUs of heat per cord. That’s what makes it a remarkable type of firewood. Since it has high heat content, it is quicker to dry off Osage orange firewood.
[Related Article: BTU Of Firewood]
It’s traditional for households to have a fireplace and to gather around it in winter and it makes for pleasant family time as well. Upon exercising reasonable firewood safety measures, one can really eliminate damaging fire hazards.
Some of the precautions include keeping firewood stack less than 4 feet, removal of firewood from the top of the stack, not to burn wet wood, wearing gloves while handling firewood, not to use gasoline to ignite the firewood, and maintaining a minimum of 10 feet clearance in all directions of the burning firewood.