Eucalyptus Firewood Guide

Eucalyptus Trees

Firewood from Eucalyptus burns very hot and is comparable to oak. However, its availability is limited and it takes a longer time and great effort to prepare for burning.

Eucalyptus has 700 different species and is native to Australia. From there it spread into different parts of the world but is difficult to find in northeastern or central United States. It is, without a doubt, among the highest density hardwoods.

One of the reasons for its popularity is due to its oil, which is used as an insect repellent. Eucalyptus wood and leaves contain a high amount of it. Even after seasoning, there are oil pockets in the firewood which makes the wood pop and spark.

Eucalyptus is also known as gumtree and has a fast growth. It can grow up to 8 ft per year. It is a real pain to split and seasoned wood is almost impossible to split with hands.

Burn Qualities of Eucalyptus  Firewood

  • BTU: 34.5 million BTUs per cord
  • Weight: 7320 lbs. greenwood
  • Seasoning Time: 18-24 months
  • Splitting Difficulty: Difficult
  • Sap Content: Low 
  • Smoke: Low
  • Smell: Medicinal sweet

Eucalyptus firewood produces a lot of heat and is among the highest BTU rating firewood. Although it may be difficult to start the fire, it burns for a long time. Consider using some softwood like pine or cedar for kindling purposes.

Once it catches fire, it keeps burning for a long time and produces a good bed of coal. It provides stable fire leaving little ash behind. If you find the heat overwhelming, you can mix softwood to keep it enjoyable.

Due to higher oil content, you can expect some quantity of smoke and creosote. But it is experienced that if firewood is completely seasoned, very low smoke and creosote is produced.

Heat Output

A high BTU rating of 34.5 makes it probably the hottest firewood you will burn in your stove. It produces an immense amount of heat and you may need to mix it with low heat output firewood to reduce it. With more mass per the same volume, it produces a considerably higher amount of heat when compared to other firewood. High oil content also adds to the heat output.

Smoke

Eucalyptus does not produce a lot of smoke and if firewood is seasoned properly, the smoke will not be a concern. However, if it is not seasoned (because it takes a long time to season properly) it may produce a lot of smoke. This is true for most firewood.

Creosote

Chimney sweepers may sometimes advise you against burning eucalyptus. But the reality is, with completely seasoned firewood, the amount of creosote it produces is very low. Eucalyptus, in this regard, is similar to other hardwoods.

Spark

There are some views about eucalyptus that it produces a lot of sparks and pops a lot. Well, it can be true if the firewood is not fully seasoned and contains high moisture content. This may happen because eucalyptus takes almost 2 years to season fully. If it is fully seasoned, it does not produce many Sparks. You should use a screen to avoid sparks being an issue for you which may cause a house fire.

Smell 

Due to high oil content, eucalyptus gives off an easily detectable nice, medicinal smell. It is present in its wood and leaves. It smells pleasant sweet which is not too overpowering.

Coals

Like other hardwood, eucalyptus produces good quality coals which do not burn out easily. It creates a consistent bed of coals favorable for cooking food and leaves behind very little ash.

Sap

Trees like Pine which have a high sap content in their wood are very difficult to work with. Luckily eucalyptus has less sap content.

Splitting Eucalyptus Wood

Splitting can be a deciding factor in choosing firewood. Eucalyptus gets real challenging here because it is difficult to split. Especially if it gets dry, it’s almost challenging to split without machine help. As it dries, its grains twist around, and splitting it becomes even harder.

The best time to split eucalyptus is around 5 to 7 days after it’s been cut. It is then when cracks appear in the wood (still wet). With good force, you will be able to split it.

A hydraulic wood splitter is undoubtedly the choice method but not everyone has one (they’re fairly expensive). Otherwise, grab your splitting maul and prepare for some hard work.

Comparing Eucalyptus  Firewood to Others

Eucalyptus has a mixed reputation and is hard to find in some areas. It is difficult to split but has very high heat output and good burning qualities. Due to these qualities eucalyptus can be preferred over average quality firewood.

Here find a comparison of heat output with several other firewoods.

SpeciesHeat per Cord (Million BTUs)
Eucalyptus34.5
Black Locust29.8
Pecan28.5
Beech27.5
Walnut, Black22.2
Sweetgum21.3
Cherry20.4
Pine, White15.9
Fir, White14.6
Redcedar, Eastern13.0

How Long to Season Eucalyptus  Firewood?

Drying Eucalyptus wood for burning is a lengthy endeavor. It does not lose moisture easily and takes 18 months to 2 years to become properly seasoned. It implies that you follow standard seasoning practices to get thoroughly dry firewood in the least time.

Identifying Eucalyptus  Trees

Eucalyptus trees and shrubs grow under the full sun. It mostly grows in USDA zone 8 to 12. However, species like rainbow eucalyptus grow in zone 10 and 11.

Important species are “rainbow eucalyptus”, known due to its colorful bark, and “lemon eucalyptus” which put off a citrusy, lemon smell.

Eucalyptus belongs to the family Myrtaceae. They’re mostly found in Australia but are grown in South and Northern America, Europe, and Asian countries.

They can grow as tall as 330 ft while shrubs known as ‘malles’ grow up to 33 ft. They have aromatic leaves and smooth bark which often peels off. Eucalyptus is also called gumtree and fruit is called gum nut. These are evergreen trees.

Leaves

Eucalyptus Leaves
Eucalyptus Leaves. Photo by: Donald Hobern Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Varieties of eucalyptus have various leaf shapes however most of the trees have long leaves with a glossy, green surface. Due to the presence of eucalyptus oil, the leaves have an aromatic scent. They smell minty pine with a hint of sweet honey. Leaves are arranged in a spiral fashion on the branch.

Bark

Eucalyptus Bark
Eucalyptus Bark. Photo by: Geekstreet Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Eucalyptus has smooth bark that peels off regularly and fresh bark replaces it. Some species have multicolored bark such as rainbow eucalyptus while some have tough fibrous bark with deep furrows.

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