Quince trees are found in most parts of the world, popular for their edible fruits, which are a cross between a pear and an apple. In the United States, they’re popular throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and New England.

Although quince trees can produce fruit for 50 years, you may have an old one that needs felling. This article examines whether quince makes good firewood and whether it’s worth the effort to split. If you’re wondering whether quince wood is worth burning, keep reading.

Is quince good for firewood?

Quince trees provide excellent firewood that generates good heat, burns clean, and offers reasonable coals. It also gives off a pleasant fragrance and is great for cooking meat, fish, and poultry.

  • Reasonable heat efficiency for the coldest nights.
  • Gives off minimal smoke and sparks.
  • Emits a lovely, mild fragrance that most people enjoy.
  • Can be a challenge to split by hand.
An infographic showing quince firewood data
Dashboard stats for quince firewood.

Quince firewood burn qualities

1. Heat output

Quince is a hardwood that produces 25.2 million BTUs of heat per cord. Whether next to the fireplace at home or sitting around a campfire, this wood gives off plenty of heat.

In comparison, quince rates lower than firewood varieties like beech at 27.5, Gambel Oak 30.7, and Manzanita 32.0. But it has a higher BTU than ash, elm, maple, and birch. It also rates better than most softwoods like pine and spruce.

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

Wood varietyHeat per Cord (Million BTUs)
Ponderosa pine16.2
Silver maple19.0
Green ash20.0
American elm20.0
Gambel oak30.7

2. Smoke

Quince firewood doesn’t smoke much, so burn it without fear of smoking out the house. Like many fruit trees, the smoke has a slightly sweet and fruity fragrance. The flavor it imparts is subtle, so it pairs best with mild-flavored ingredients. It’s ideal for smoking food like chicken, pork, fish, and beef.

Like any firewood, quince needs seasoning before burning. Unseasoned wood produces a lot of unpleasant smoke.

3. Ease of splitting

Quince wood can be difficult to split, especially with large old trees. Younger ones with trunks under 12” will be much easier.

The wood from quince is dense, so you’ll need a good-quality splitting axe or maul if you’re going to process the rounds by hand. The tree branches often twist around the trunk and have tough fibers. In some cases, splitting by hand is back-breaking work.

Whatever its condition, split the firewood as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will turn rock hard and take a lot of energy to process.  

4. Sparks

Sparking and popping wood can cause carpet burns or start unwanted fires. Even those with woodstoves that keep embers contained may find exploding wood unsettling.

Quince firewood burns clean without a lot of sparks. It should always be seasoned fully before throwing into the fire for the best results.

5. Aroma

Quince firewood has a subtle sweet aroma that won’t overwhelm. Its fragrance has an enticing homely feel that is a little sweet and spicy. 

Quince is excellent for barbecues, smokers, and roasters. It rates alongside other fruit tree wood like peach, plum, cherry, and apple

If you enjoy cooking outside, check out our advice on the top wood types for cooking.

6. Coaling

Quince produces good coals that burn much better than fast-burning species like willow, boxelder, spruce, or fir. The hardwood logs are dense and slow-burning in the flames. That means you won’t have to continuously add wood to the fire all night.

While quince produces adequate coals, it doesn’t compare to seasoned black locust, oak, beech, maple, and other super-dense woods.

7. Creosote build-up

Quince is a hardwood that is low in sap and resin content. It burns clean and produces minimal creosote. This black tar deposits on the chimney and may require frequent cleaning.

Creosote production isn’t a huge factor when choosing firewood, but it’s reassuring you won’t have to clean the chimney every six months. 

An illustration of a young quince tree isolated on white background
A developing quince tree loaded with fruit.

Tips for seasoning quince

Burning green quince is a bad idea. It will give off a lot of smoke, and the fire will use all its energy to evaporate moisture in the wood rather than giving off heat. To season quince firewood faster, follow these simple suggestions.

  • Keep the stack off the ground: lay the wood on some planks or pallets to allow airflow under the wood and keep it away from moisture, disease, and insects.
  • Stack in a good spot: speed up the drying time by positioning the pile in a warm, sunny place and facing the exposed wood towards the wind.
  • Space out the rows: build stacks with a small gap between each to help the air circulate.
  • Split the wood: splitting the logs increases the surface area, getting exposed to sunshine and wind.
  • 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.
Rows of quince trees in an orchard
A quince orchard can offer a lot of firewood.

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to season quince firewood?

Allow 12-18 months for quince to season properly. Add a few extra months if you don’t get a lot of sunshine where you live.

How do I know if the wood is quince?

Quince wood is typically a rich reddish-brown shade with tiny pores and a fine texture.

How do I identify a quince tree?

Quince trees usually reach a height of 10-15 feet and may have gnarled branches. The gray-green leaves have a smooth top and fuzzy bottom, making them easy to identify. Source. Apple-sized fruits grow with a light fuzz that will fall off at harvest time.

Closeup of a quince fruit growing on the branch of a tree
The fruit is astringent and most prefer it cooked.

5 fast facts about quince trees

  1. The scientific name for the quince tree is Cydonia oblonga, from the family Rosaceae.
  2. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant shrub that tolerates sunny and shady spots.
  3. The trees can produce fruit for over 25 years and live for more than 50 years.
  4. Although the fruit can be eaten raw, it is more commonly cooked for jellies, jams, and desserts.
  5. The leading producers of quinces are Turkey, China, Uzbekistan, Morocco, and Iran. Source.

Summing up

The firewood from a quince tree is well worth the effort to split. It gives off plenty of heat, produces good coals, and has a pleasant fragrance. Just make sure to season the wood sufficiently before using it.

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

Another pitfall of quince is splitting it. It twists and contorts as it matures, so don’t expect a nice straight grain. You may want to use a hydraulic splitter or chainsaw to save your back.

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