Avocado trees are prolific in California, Florida, and Hawaii. But once they stop bearing fruit, the trees have limited uses. That means most of it ends up sold as cheap firewood.
Are you wondering if avocado firewood is any good? This guide looks at its pros and cons to help you decide if it’s suitable for your home.
Is avocado good firewood?
Avocado firewood is a reasonable choice for home heating, although popular hardwoods like oak and maple are better options. Avocado is one of the softer hardwoods, which means it burns fast, and you need to keep topping up the fire.
- A good option for kindling.
- Burns hot but also very fast.
- Leaves a lot of ash and creosote.
- Good for smoking and barbecuing.
Avocado firewood burn qualities
1. Heat output
Heat efficiency is an essential consideration when evaluating firewood. You want to stay warm without having to add more wood to the fire constantly. This holds true whether you’re relaxing at home or huddling around a campfire.
Avocado wood has a heat rating of 20.8 million BTUs per cord. This low-moderate value positions its heating efficiency alongside softwoods like Douglas fir, pine, and western red cedar. Hardwoods such as apple (27.0), white oak (29.1), and pinyon (27.1) offer much better efficiency.
Firewood with a low BTU rating can still be used in a fire. It just means you’ll need to toss more logs on frequently.
Avocado lights easily, so it’s excellent for kindling to start fires. We suggest combining this wood with dense hardwoods like oak or black locust.
Check out the following table comparing the heat output of avocado to various other common types of firewood.
|Wood variety||Heat per Cord (Million BTUs)|
|Western red cedar||18.2|
Wood that gives off too much smoke doesn’t make for a pleasant fire. Green wood from the avocado tree is high in water content, so it will smoke a lot if tossed into the fire. But once it is seasoned sufficiently, avocado will produce low levels of smoke.
Unseasoned wood is also inefficient as the fire wastes energy, evaporating water instead of giving off heat. Allowing time for your avocado wood to dry is important, although some firewood sellers will have already done this step for you.
3. Ease of splitting
Avocado wood is relatively soft, so the splitting process won’t be difficult. To make life easy, use a splitting axe or maul that’s fit for purpose.
We recommend splitting avocado firewood soon after it’s been felled. This approach will accelerate the drying process as more surface area is exposed to wind and sunlight.
Wood that sparks and pops isn’t a big problem inside a wood stove. But if you’re camping or have an open hearth, too many sparks can burn carpets or start a fire. Popping can also be unsettling for some people.
Seasoned avocado produces very few sparks as it burns, so you can light the fire and relax. Firewood can be unpredictable, so never leave fires unattended outdoors.
As avocado wood burns in the fire, it gives off a very mild fragrance. People who don’t want a lot of smell from the fire will appreciate this fuel source.
Like most wood from fruit trees, avocado chips or chunks are ideal for cooking with. They contain essential oils that add a rich, slightly sweet flavor to beef, lamb, chicken, fish, pork, and wild game. Use avocado wood in smokers, roasters, and barbecues.
Cooks who enjoy strong flavor can combine avocado with hickory chips. The avocado wood’s sweetness balances the slightly bitter hickory smoke.
Quick tip: If you love cooking with fire, check out our list of the best types of wood for cooking.
Coals impact how long a fire burns without needing more wood added. While avocado is classified as a hardwood, it is much softer than oak, maple, and other popular firewoods. This lack of density creates a hot, fast-burning fire that peters out quickly.
If you like adding a big log to the fire and letting it burn all night, then avocado won’t be your first choice.
7. Creosote build-up
Chimney sweeping services often claim that avocado firewood creates a lot of creosote. This substance is unpleasant black soot that gets deposited inside chimneys as the fire burns. It will quickly glaze up the chimney flue, creating a highly flammable layer.
Seasoning the firewood will help reduce the deposits. Regular chimney maintenance is recommended to reduce the likelihood of unwanted fires.
How long does it take to season avocado wood?
To properly dry avocado firewood, allow 12 months of seasoning. You’ll get an even better fire if you extend this waiting time. Seasoning time is reduced for old avocado trees that have been dead for months. They’ve had time to dry out, so seasoning may only require six months.
Tips for seasoning avocado firewood
A hot and dry climate will help speed up avocado firewood seasoning. Further accelerate the drying time by following these tips:
- Keep wood off the ground: lay planks or pallets as a base to create airflow beneath them.
- Position well: face the wood stack towards the wind and avoid shady, damp areas that don’t get sunlight.
- Make space between each row: build stacks in rows with a 3-5″ gap between each to allow airflow.
- Cover the wood: store in a woodshed or cover with a tarp to protect the wood from snow or rain while keeping one side exposed to the wind.
- Split first: splitting the logs before curing them increases the surface area exposed to wind and sunlight.
Commonly asked questions
What is the best way to smoke avocado wood chips?
Place avocado wood chips in a smoker box or wrap them in aluminum foil with a few holes, then place them above the heat source. To get the best flavor, try to add the chips once the food is already cooking.
Is avocado wood good for a campfire?
Avocado lights easily, making it a handy wood to have at the campsite. You’ll want a big stack of wood, though, as it burns fast.
Does avocado wood smell while burning?
Avocado has a very mild aroma that most people find pleasant. It is a good option for people sensitive to smells.
Is avocado a hardwood or softwood?
Avocado is considered a hardwood but doesn’t have the same density as many hardwood firewoods. You can learn more about hardwood vs. softwood firewood here.
6 fast facts about avocado trees
- The botanical name for the avocado tree is Persea americana. It is a part of the family Lauraceae.
- Avocado wood can make instruments, furniture, cabinets, and indoor framework.
- The tree blooms are male in the morning and become female in the afternoon. Source.
- Some common avocado varieties are the Hass, Choquette, Reed, Lula, Pinkerton, Maluma, and Gwen.
- Avocados are classified in the same family as cinnamon and camphor. Source.
- 90% of all avocado production in the United States comes from California. 40% of that is grown in San Diego County.
You’ll likely have access to cheap firewood if you live in a state where avocados are grown. While its heating efficiency is relatively low, the wood is ideal for combining with other higher-quality types of firewood.
In the fire, avocado wood has low sparks and gives food a mouth-watering smoky flavor. It produces a lot of creosote, so regular cleaning of the chimney is highly recommended.