The Complete Survival Guide to Planting Trees for Firewood
Trees are nature’s gift for survival in many ways, providing medicinal remedies and tasty fruit and nuts. Acorns are nutritious and can be ground into flour, and pine needles make a tea that contains abundant vitamin A and vitamin C. When deciding which trees to plant to prepare for SHTF, don’t forget about firewood needs.
How Many Trees Should You Plant for Firewood?
In one acre of land, you can plant 500 or more trees spaced about 8 square feet apart. This applies to firewood trees; fruit trees generally need a little more space. If you have several acres of property, you can easily plant enough trees to keep you, your children and your grandchildren well-stocked for firewood.
Hardwoods regenerate by themselves after cutting, so you don’t have to worry about replanting each and every tree you cut. However, it’s smart to get into the habit of planting new trees every year. Choose a variety of tree species for firewood, fruit, furniture and fencing.
How Much Firewood Do You Need Each Year?
Homes vary significantly when it comes to heating:
The size of your home
The heating efficiency of your stove/fireplace
The average temps during winter
The number of family members you have
As a general guide, homes that are 1,000 square feet usually go through about three cords of wood for winter heating. If you have a 2,000 square-foot house, you may need six cords. Of course, with an efficient fireplace, wood burning needs are less.
One full cord is a LOT of wood. Each full cord is a stack of wood that measures 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep. How many trees do you need for one cord? That depends on the diameter. If you can find trees that are 14 inches in diameter, you would need roughly three for each cord. You would have to harvest about 10 trees of 8 inches in diameter to get the same amount of wood.
What Are the Best Trees for Firewood?
The type of tree you plant has a huge effect on the safety and performance of firewood. The ideal firewood is dense but easy to split. You want something that won’t give off sparks or excessive smoke as it burns. Here are some popular varieties:
Red and white oak: Logs of oak can burn all night without problems, and they produce significant heat. The only downside with oak is that it takes over a year to dry properly.
Ash: This is one of the best choices for all around firewood. It burns hot and steady, and seasoning doesn’t take as long as oak.
Black walnut: Walnut trees are good for areas with milder winters. The cut wood doesn’t give off as much heat inside the home, but it still burns for a long time.
Hickory: Hickory smells great, splits easily and burns hot. It can quickly become one of your favorites for cooking, as well.
Apple: Many fruit trees have excellent heat-burning properties, too. They burn hot and give off a pleasant aroma. Apple and cherry woods are often used for smoking and preserving meat. Maple is another wintertime star.
When you’re looking for the best firewood, hardwoods are almost always the right choice. Softwoods burn fast and hot, which is great for kindling, but they also give off smoke and coat the chimney with creosote. Hardwood species always have leaves instead of evergreen needles.