Seriously, what’s the buzz with birch!?!?
You might have heard your friends and family talk about “Birch,” as if it’s your meal ticket to the glory land when talking about firewood.
So, what’s the deal?
Birch is a premium hardwood firewood. Hardwood burns longer, hotter, cleaner, with less smoke and less ash than softwood as a counterpart.
Around Calgary and surrounding areas, birch is hard to come by, and we are very dense with softwood trees such as evergreens and very light on the number of hardwood trees we have at our disposal. Geographically, birch is not ideal for these climates, you see lots of birch dying off, and it is not a widely recommended tree to plant in these areas.
These factors make birch very sought after because of its burning properties, and not many firewood providers in Calgary have large quantities of high-quality birch firewood available.
Now, you know the basics of why birch is excellent, but I will tell you a little more about what you need to know about birch and why people love to burn it.
Different types of Birch
There are two different types of birch that you will come across, Silver birch and yellow birch. Both coming from the same tree species and are similar in their burning characteristics but one is slightly better than the other.
Silver Birch – This type of birch is distinguished with a bright white bark and a consistent light white grain. Silver birch can primarily be found in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It burns at roughly 24.0 BTU – 25.0 BTU’s.
Yellow Birch – This type of birch is distinguished with a white/yellow bark and has a yellow hue for the inside grain. This birch is primarily found in BC with Yellow birch being slightly denser than silver birch, making it better quality coming in at 25.0 BTU – 27.0 BTU.
No matter which type of birch you burn, you will have a very similar burning experience and enjoy the quality of firewood with either option.
The notable characteristics of birch are its heat, burn time, flames, aroma, coals, smoking, popping and residue.
When burning birch, it emits a very low-density smoke with no popping, which makes sitting around an outdoor fire or burning indoors effortless and enjoyable. It releases a pleasant aroma with beautiful bright flames and long hot burning coals.
Once you have burned through birch firewood, it leaves a low amount of ash and creates a very low amount of creosote build-up, making it ideal for indoor burning and spacial heating.
Firewood Math & Value
Don’t be fooled; this type of math isn’t the scary kind; it is the type of math that makes sense and gets you the most value for your money.
Why pay more for birch?
Birch on average burns 2-2.5 times longer and hotter than softwoods such as spruce and pine. This factor means you need half the quantity of birch to release the same amount of energy or get twice or more of the amount of energy with the same amount of wood.
This makes sense because you will pay a more for birch upfront but you will actually be getting more value over time. In some cases, it could be cheaper over time to burn birch, and you will get all the fantastic firewood characteristics and a better experience for free.
If you have less storage space or have constraints with the amount of room you have when going on your next camping trip, then birch will get you much farther when used for firewood than cheap softwood firewood will.
This makes birch the gold standard for a premium quality firewood burning experience for indoor or outdoor burning. Whatever your firewood needs, birch will always be an amazing option that you can’t go wrong with.
Instead of having a mediocre burning experience, you can take it to the next level with birch and enjoy effortless high quality burning every single time.