Mulberry trees are best known for their fruit and can grow to a lofty 50 feet tall. When it comes time to chop one down, you may find yourself with a decent amount of wood. If you’re wondering if mulberry firewood is any good then keep reading. We’ve created this guide to walk you through how this fuel compares to other popular varieties of wood for your fire.
Is mulberry good for firewood?
Mulberry is considered excellent firewood that is hard to fault. Its heat output is high with excellent coaling properties. The wood is generally easy to split and produces a pleasant fragrance. Although it produces more sparks and smoke than the top firewood options, most people find that effective seasoning will help reduce this issue.
- Gives off impressive heat that is comparable to red oak and maple.
- Produces long-burning coals that keep you warm all night.
- Excessively sparks and pops so not recommended for use where fire risk is high.
- Easy to split into kindling and smaller pieces of firewood.
Mulberry firewood burn qualities
1. Heat output
Mulberry firewood emits 25.8 million BTUs per cord, which is impressive heat. It rates up alongside quality wood like bur oak, maple, apple, and beech. Mulberry is much hotter than alder, aspen, chestnut, and white fir.
In most cases, heat output should be your main consideration. Whether you’re sitting around a campfire or relaxing at home, there’s no point in making a fire if it doesn’t provide warmth. Thankfully, mulberry will keep you warm on the coldest winter night.
Check out the following table comparing the heat output of mulberry to various other common types of firewood.
|Wood variety||Heat per Cord (Million BTUs)|
Mulberry is known to let off reasonable amounts of smoke. If you’re sensitive to smoke then you may want to use a cleaner-burning wood like ash or cherry. However, most people will be okay with burning mulberry. It produces much less smoke than other options like Douglas fir and some types of pine.
Keep in mind that fully drying out mulberry will help reduce smoke output. One year of seasoning is recommended, but if you can increase that to two years, you’ll get wood that burns cleaner and hotter.
3. Ease of splitting
Mulberry wood usually has a straight grain and is easy to split. Like any wood, logs with stubborn knots will require more effort to process. You may find it easier with a decent splitting axe or maul.
Mulberry is often irregular in shape, so you may not end up with a neat stack of firewood. Some people find it difficult to pack them into a firebox. The awkwardly shaped logs will sometimes make it difficult to stand them up and chop them into pieces.
You’ll notice a lot of sparking and popping when burning mulberry, similar to a fireworks display! Although many find it fun to watch, this wood isn’t suitable for every situation.
For outdoor campfires in dry areas, use caution to avoid any chance of starting a forest fire. Open-air indoor fireplaces will need to have a fireguard in place or you may end up with carpet burn marks or an unwanted fire.
Anyone with a safe fire pit or enclosed wood stove will be perfectly okay using mulberry.
Some types of firewood produce an enticing fragrance that gives your house a homely feel. Anyone that smokes meat will also want to pay close attention to the aroma that wood gives off.
Mulberry won’t compete with hickory or apple for its smell, but it is still better than a lot of firewood options. Like many fruit trees, mulberry wood gives off an excellent aroma as it burns. It’s smoky and sweet, ideal for slow-cooking meat or setting the mood around the campfire.
The quality of coal produced by firewood impacts how well a fire burns and how long the fire will last. The coaling properties of mulberry firewood are very good, rivaling other hardwoods like beech and black locust.
Toss a big piece of mulberry into the fire and your wood stove will produce heat all night. Re-starting the coals the next morning is as simple as tossing on more wood.
7. Creosote build-up
Mulberry is relatively low in sap and resin, so creosote residue shouldn’t be too bad. This buildup of black tar can block chimneys and create health issues in high amounts. Regular chimney maintenance won’t be such an issue if you burn mulberry.
How long should I season mulberry?
Mulberry should be seasoned for at least 12 months before using as firewood. Leaving the wood to dry for 18-24 months will result in a hotter, cleaner fire. You can get more opinions here. As mulberry seasons, it turns darker, the best firewood will have transformed into a very dark shade.
Tips for seasoning mulberry
Seasoned wood means it has been thoroughly dried. Burning mulberry that has been seasoned is a good idea as it’ll have less smoke and sparks while burning hotter.
There are some handy ways to speed up the seasoning process. Follow these tips to speed up mulberry wood seasoning.
- Cover the wood: use a tarp to protect the stacks from rain and snow while keeping one side exposed to the wind.
- Raise the wood: lay the mulberry on some planks or pallets to allow airflow under the wood.
- Split the firewood: by splitting the logs, you increase the surface area that gets exposed to sunshine and wind.
- Stack in the right place: accelerate drying time by positioning the face of the stack towards the wind and avoiding shady areas.
- Space out the rows: create a series of stacks with a 3-5” gap between each one to assist with air circulation.
What are the common types of mulberry?
The white mulberry (Morus alba) is also known as the silkworm or common mulberry. It is a medium-sized variety with a relatively short lifespan. White mulberry is a hardy tree that requires minimal sunlight and thrives in poor soil.
The red mulberry (Morus rubra) requires better soil and more sunshine than the white species. This deciduous is commonly found in North America, popular in west Texas and South Florida where the soil is moist.
The black mulberry (Morus nigra) is native to the Iberian Peninsula and southwestern Asia. They grow 30-40 feet in height and their fruit is considered the best. Black mulberry trees are slow-growing so you could be waiting a long time for your firewood.
Commonly asked questions
Does mulberry wood come from a bush or tree?
Although there is a classic kid’s song about a mulberry bush, you’ll find that mulberries actually grow on a tree. Some varieties can grow to over 40 feet tall.
How do I know if the wood is mulberry?
You can tell its mulberry firewood if the center of a log has a red color with a light brown outer ring. The outer bark will often have white streaks while the small, jagged leaves grow individually in a left-right pattern (alternative-simple pattern).
The mulberry tree is an excellent source of fruit, but when it stops producing it’s also great for firewood. You’ll get plenty of heat from mulberry along with great coals. It’s also easy to split, making the tedious job of chopping a large amount of wood easier.
No firewood is perfect though and you’ll find mulberry produces a lot of sparks. For many woodstove owners, this won’t be a problem, but outdoor campers and anyone with an open fire should to take care. An ember could burn your carpet, or worse, your skin. Unwanted fires are also a possibility if you don’t watch this wood closely.