American persimmon trees are grown for their edible fruits, which have a sweet, rich flavor. A tree can live up to 30 years before it stops producing and felling may be needed. This article looks at whether persimmon makes good firewood and if it’s worth the effort to split.

Is persimmon good for firewood?

Persimmon trees provide excellent firewood that burns clean, coals well, and generates good heat. It gives off a lovely fragrance, ideal for adding delicious flavor to food.

  • High heat output for the coldest nights.
  • Gives off minimal smoke and sparks.
  • Provides a pleasant, mild fragrance.
  • Takes a long time to season properly.
An infographic showing persimmon firewood data
Dashboard stats for persimmon firewood.

Persimmon firewood burn qualities

1. Heat output

Persimmon is a dense hardwood that produces 25.8 million BTUs of heat per cord. Sitting around a campfire or relaxing at home, this wood will keep you warm in the depths of winter.

Persimmon rates lower than firewood varieties like beech at 27.5, Hickory 30.6, and Gambel Oak 30.7. But it has a higher BTU than elm, maple, ash, and birch. It also rates above most softwoods like spruce, fir, and pine.

Check out the following table comparing the heat output of persimmon to various other common types of firewood.

Wood varietyHeat per Cord (Million BTUs)
Silver Maple19.0
Green ash19.0
Gambel oak30.7

2. Smoke

Persimmon doesn’t smoke much in the fire, so you won’t end up with sore, red eyes at the night’s end. It needs seasoning before burning, or the wood will release a lot of unpleasant smoke.

Like many fruit trees, its smoke has a mildly fruity and sweet fragrance. It gives food a subtle flavor, so it’s best combined with mild-flavored ingredients if you’re using it for cooking.

3. Ease of splitting

Persimmon can be easy to split, but often the logs are stringy and hard to work with, especially large old trees. If trunk diameter is under 12″, the rounds will be much easier to process.

The wood from persimmon is dense, so invest in a splitting axe or maul designed for the job. Whether the grain is straight or twisted, split it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it becomes rock hard, and each swing will rattle your teeth. 

4. Sparks

Wood that pops and sparks can cause carpet burns; a stray ember could start an unwanted fire. Thankfully, persimmon firewood burns clean and gives off minimal sparks. It should always be seasoned fully for the best results.

5. Aroma

Persimmon firewood has a pleasant aroma that won’t overwhelm a room. Its enticing homely smell is slightly spicy and sweet.

The wood is excellent for smokers, fire pits, roasters, and BBQs. It is considered top-quality fuel for cooking food, rating alongside other fruit tree wood like apple, peach, cherry, and plum.

If you need some ideas for adding better flavor to your food, check out our top wood types for cooking.

6. Coaling

The coals produced by persimmon are excellent. They burn slowly, a much better option than species like boxelder, willow, or spruce. You won’t need to frequently add wood to the fire to keep it burning hot.

Although some dense types of firewood take work to start burning, persimmon lights easily. The bark is highly flammable, perfect for getting the fire started.

7. Creosote build-up

Creosote is a black tar deposited on the chimney as the fire burns. Persimmon doesn’t contain a lot of resin and sap content. It burns clean, producing minimal creosote. Frequent chimney cleaning won’t be required, which can save a lot of time or money.

A persimmon tree isolated on white background
A mature persimmon tree.

Tips for seasoning persimmon

Green persimmon will give off a lot of smoke as it burns. The fire will use all its energy evaporating wood moisture instead of giving off heat. To season persimmon firewood faster, follow these simple suggestions.

  • Make gaps in the rows: build stacks with small gaps between each to help with air circulation.
  • Stack in a smart spot: position the pile in a warm, sunny place and face the exposed wood in a windward direction.
  • Protect the wood: use a tarp or wood shed to protect the stacks from rain and snow while keeping one side exposed to the wind.
  • Split the wood: splitting the logs increases the surface area, getting exposed to sunshine and wind.
  • Elevate the stack: Use planks or pallets to create airflow under the wood and keep it away from insects, disease, and moisture.

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to season persimmon firewood?

Allow at least 24 months for persimmon to season properly. Add a few extra months if you live in a rainy area. If there’s time, the wood is at its best after three years of drying.

How do I know if the wood is from a persimmon tree?

Persimmon wood has pale yellow or white sapwood that darkens as the tree matures. A black or dark brown heartwood section is typically under 1″ in diameter. The wood has a medium-coarse texture and may have a twisted or straight grain.

How do I identify a persimmon tree?

Persimmon trees typically reach a height of 40-60 feet with a round canopy and irregular, spreading branches.

Thick dark brown bark has short furrows and block-like ridges. Peeling back the outer bark will reveal yellowish inner bark.

Persimmon leaves are dark green with a shiny upper surface.

A persimmon orchard with lots of fruit ready to pick
Persimmon orchards provide a lot of firewood once they stop producing.

6 fast facts about persimmon trees

  1. The scientific name for the persimmon tree is Diospyros virginiana, from the family Ebenaceae.
  2. The persimmon tree is also known as white ebony, simmon, eastern persimmon, American ebony, sugar plum, possumwood, butterwood, or boa-wood.
  3. It looks similar to red oak and burns hot like locust or hickory.
  4. Persimmon trees are commonly grown for their fruit. Their dense wood is ideal for golf club drivers, musical instruments, furniture, drumsticks, veneers, and tool handles.
  5. The sapwood is perishable and susceptible to insect attack.
  6. There are around 2000 persimmon varieties. The two commercial species are hachiya and fuyu.

Summing up

The firewood from a persimmon tree is definitely worth splitting. It gives off good heat, produces excellent coals, and has a lovely fragrance.

Always season persimmon wood adequately before burning it. It takes at least two years to dry, so keep that in mind when planning your firewood supplies.

In some states, the biggest problem with persimmon firewood is finding it. Trees are primarily grown for their fruit rather than firewood, so the wood isn’t readily available.

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