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How to tell Seasoned Firewood from Green Wood

Updated on September 30, 2012

How to Stack Wood


With the coming of the cold weather it is important for wood burners to know what the difference between seasoned wood and green wood is. Some wood providers may try to pull one over your eyes and give you green wood, but if you know these essential differences you can ensure that does not happen. If you do not know the difference and try to burn green wood, you may damage your woodstove (if you are using one), and it will not provide the heat that you are looking for.

The Weight

The main factor in knowing if wood is seasoned or not is the weight of it. If you pick up a piece and you need two hands to carry it because it is so heavy, it is not seasoned. Seasoned wood is light and easy to carry since it is not saturated with water like green wood.

The Ends

If you look at the ends where the wood was cut, seasoned wood should have cracks. This is from being completely dry. Green wood will not have those cracks since it is still in the process of drying.

The Bark

If you have seasoned wood and you try to pull off the bark, it will come off quite easily. There is no moisture holding the bark to the wood. If you have green wood, the bark will not come off. You will have to struggle to get it off as the wetness will hold it in place. It is almost like the moisture is acting like glue.

What to Do if You have Green Wood

Since you cannot burn green wood right away, you will need to let it dry until seasoned. This can take anywhere from a couple months to a year or more depending on how wet the wood is. You will want to stack it in a place that is sheltered from the weather, yet has great air circulation. When you stack the wood have the different layers going in different directions. For example, the bottom layer the wood has been stacked horizontally then the next layer should be stacked vertically. From there you repeat the pattern to make sure the air can circulate and the stack is stable.

Hope this helps you as winter approaches. And for those of you that do not have to worry about keeping the cold at bay, I am jealous of you. Hopefully this hub helped shed some light on a new subject, though.


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    • fancifulashley profile image

      fancifulashley 6 years ago

      Your welcome. I just found out this information when we replaced our wood stove. We had a huge crack in our previous one, almost splitting the top completely, from burning green wood. The moisture caused the split. So it is very good information to know.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      This is really helpful information for those of us who are novices at fire building. Thanks!

    • fancifulashley profile image

      fancifulashley 6 years ago

      I love the smell wood smoke, whether it be from a campfire or a woodstove. I agree, cigarettes smell much worse than smoke from a fireplace. Glad that you kept warm that winter, though.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 6 years ago from Cape Cod

      Years ago when my furnace failed, I heated for one full winter with wood only. It was fine and I enjoyed it, but my two sons (in high school at the time) did not. They hated going to school with the smell of wood smoke on them. I advised them that the cigarettes that they chose to smoke smelled much worse than the cheery smell of a woodstove fire.

      They didn't buy my reasoning...but since they also did not buy my heater or my fuel, we continued to heat with wood until I saved enough to buy a new furnace.