The windy winter months are freezing and snowy in many parts of Michigan. Local Michiganders choosing to heat their homes with a fireplace or wood stove need the right wood. A poor choice could mean a smoke-filled room or many trips to the wood stack each night.

This guide lists some of the best types of firewood in Michigan for heating and cooking. It attempts to balance performance with regional availability.

What is the best firewood to burn in Michigan?

Michigan residents needing a hot, long-lasting fire should select a hardwood like oak, maple, beech, or hickory. Choose affordable softwoods like pine, spruce, or fir to help get the fire started. These species grow abundantly in much of Michigan, and their wood is excellent for tinder and kindling.

1. Maple

Maples grow well throughout much of Michigan. Their wood burns clean with excellent coaling. That means you’ll get a slow-burning fire that gives off heat for longer than most.

The red and sugar maple are suitable home heating varieties but have a relatively low BTU rating. You can burn it in the shoulder seasons, saving denser hardwoods like oak for the depths of winter.

2. Black Cherry

The black cherry tree flourishes in Michigan, growing at a rate of two feet or more each year. Its wood is prized for its rich color and durability, making it popular for furniture making.

A black cherry tree provides excellent firewood that offers good heat for the coldest winter. It is also a popular wood for cooking, adding a delicious smoky flavor to meat, poultry, game, and fish.

Learn more about cherry firewood.

3. American Beech

Michigan has around 32 million American beech trees, a deciduous hardwood that makes good firewood. Sadly, beech bark disease has wiped out 2.5 million of them, and the numbers continue to rise. Source.

Areas particularly affected include the eastern Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. All this premature death of beech trees means extra firewood for locals.

Find out about beech firewood here.

4. Oak

Oak is an excellent type of wood for keeping homes warm. It gives off lots of heat and has amazing coals. Keeping the fire burning through the night requires less work.

Oak-hickory forests make up around 12 percent of the forest area, mostly found in the northern Lower Peninsula. Common species include red, white, and black oaks. In lesser numbers, there are also northern pin, bur, pin, swamp white, and chinkapin forests. Source.

You can buy oak firewood from a local supplier or split one on your property at the end of its life. Either way, the performance of oak in the fire never disappoints.

Learn more about oak firewood here.

5. Pine

The white pine is the state tree, but many other varieties of pine are widespread in Michigan. Pine species like Jack and Red are abundant. They grow quickly and provide vast amounts of sustainable firewood.

Pine is a softwood, so it burns fast. It won’t make a great primary firewood source unless you’re happy constantly topping up the fire.

Pine also has high levels of resin, resulting in creosote deposits inside the chimney. Regular chimney cleaning is essential to avoid unwanted chimney fires.

So why did we include pine on this list? It is easy to source, relatively cheap, and excellent for starting fires. Pine also gives off a pleasant smell as it burns. We recommend using it with other hardwoods for the perfect fire.

Read our full review of pine.

A panoramic shot of Michigan forest and lakes
Michigan offers a rich tapestry of softwood and hardwood forests.

6. White Spruce

The white and black spruce trees are native to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. They are fast-growing conifers that provide vast wood resources for fireplaces throughout the state.

Spruce has a low BTU rating, so its heating efficiency is lower than most hardwoods. But like pine, it’s excellent for kindling or mixed with slow-burning hardwoods to reduce the firewood bill each year. 

Check out our resource on spruce wood here.

7. Hickory

Some types of firewood are ideal for grilling, smoking, and roasting food. Hickory is an exceptional option for cooking, adding a sweet, smoky flavor to food.

But hickory isn’t just for the barbecue. The bitternut and shagbark varieties produce a lot of heat, making them well-suited to cold months in the mitten state.

Learn more about hickory firewood in this article.

8. Ash

Like much of the United States, the ash population throughout Michigan has taken a beating from the emerald ash borer. The state’s southeast has taken the brunt of this destruction. Source.

While no one enjoys seeing forests dying, the wood shouldn’t go to waste. You may have an ash tree on your property that needs felling. Just be sure to keep the wood local and don’t transport it – that’ll encourage the spread of disease.

Ash is decent firewood that splits easily and gives off very little creosote as it burns. White ash provides better heat efficiency than green.

This ash firewood guide provides more details.

9. Tamarack

There are rich tamarack swamps throughout southern Lower Michigan. Source.

Tamarack logs are easy to split and provide moderate heat. While the wood won’t compete with denser varieties like hickory or oak, it’s worth using if you can get it.

10. Black walnut

Black walnut is native to Michigan, although it mainly grows in the state’s south. Locations like Clare, Muskegon, and Bay County lines have much of the stock. Black walnut trees are threatened by Thousand Cankers disease, so you may see the wood for sale or even have one at home that needs felling.

Black walnut burns clean and provides a lovely fragrance. It is a good option for the shoulder season when temperatures haven’t reached freezing.

Read about walnut firewood here.

Where can I buy firewood in Michigan?

Residents in MI have access to plenty of reliable, well-priced firewood suppliers. Here are a few options to get you started.

DetroitWoodsman Services(248) 398-1446
DetroitGreat Lakes Firewood(313) 929-4522
Grand RapidsTimber Ridge Wood Products(616) 785-5182
Grand RapidsGrand Rapids Mulch(616) 528-1301
Warren CityMetro Detroit Tree and Firewood(586) 625-3398
Sterling HeightsCornelius Firewood(586) 286-5522
Ann ArborMr Firewood(734) 424-3044
LansingAmerican Firewood / Capital City Firewood(517) 487-6188

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