Believe it or not, Crepe Myrtle wood will burn if you throw that log onto your fireplace.
It’s more popularly used as a fire retardant plant, to help combat bush fires, and safe-guard at-risk homes from wildfires. However, this heat-tolerant tree’s lumber has been used to make everything from railroad ties to furniture.
So, can that Crepe Myrtle wood also be used to help keep your home warm?
Well, in this post, we explain what you need to be on the look out for, when it comes to choosing firewood. You will also learn what makes Crepe Myrtle a surprisingly good choice for your homesteads fireplace.
And keep reading to find out if the lumber from this heat-resistant tree will even catch light.
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What’s The Best Kind Of Firewood?
The best kind of firewood should burn clean and hot for a while. So, you need to check that stack of logs for the following;
Firewood Needs To Be Dry
Firewood with a high moisture content (anything above 19%) contains too much water to burn. That is because when that log burns, the water will turn into vapor. And all of that extra vapor will cause an excessive amount of smoke to pour out from it.
This is why you should allow firewood to season. And basically, seasoning means storing freshly cut lumber in a dry place for 6-12 months.
You see, freshly cut lumber has a moisture content of around 100%. But, give it a year or so, and it’s moisture content will fall to below 20% — making it perfect for your fireplace.
Firewood Must Contain Very Little Sap Or Pitch
Tree sap will vaporize. And that sap vapor can create almost as much smoke as moisture can.
But, more worryingly, if firewood has a lot of sap/pitch, it can build up in the soot lining your chimney flue. And this, in turn, can increase the risk of chimney fires.
Firewood Must Not Come From Poisonous Wood
Poisonous trees contain toxic sap, and that sap can vaporize and turn into fumes.
And the last thing you need is poisonous lumber filling your home with noxious fumes.
Related Post: Can You Safely Burn Camphor Wood In A Fireplace?
OK, So What Is A Good Clean Burning Type Of Firewood?
Hardwoods such as White Oak and Birch wood are great choices. These two hardwoods don’t come from poisonous trees, they contain very little sap, and they can be seasoned in under a year.
However, even better, Oak and Birch wood are fairly dense hard woods. And as a general rule of thumb, the more dense a piece of wood, the hotter (and longer) it will burn.
And What About Crepe Myrtle? Is It A Good Wood?
Well, it’s not as dense or as hard as Oak wood or Birch wood (based on its Janka rating).
Still, when it comes to firewood, Crepe Myrtle will burn just as well as any Oak or Birch wood log.
What Is The Janka Rating? The Janka rating measures how many pounds of force it takes to crack through a piece of wood. White Oak has a Janka rating of 1360 lbf, which means it will take 1360 pounds of force to crack it. On the other hand, Birch wood has a Janka rating of 1260 lbf. While Crepe Myrtle is the least tough out of the three, with a Janka rating of 1090 lbf.
Still, Isn’t Crepe Myrtle Toxic?
No, it isn’t. Generally, trees that produce non-poisonous fruit, do not produce lumber that’s poisonous to us.
In fact, this tree is so benign, that it’s not only safe around us, it’s also safe around cats, dogs and horses too.
But I Heard Crepe Myrtle Trees Produce A Lot Of Sap?
Not exactly. Tree sap is a clear (sometimes cloudy) substance that trees sometimes overproduce in order fight against bug attacks.
For example, the Douglas Fir tree is famous for producing a lot of Tree sap in defense of itself.
Related Post: Is Douglas Fir Any Good For Firewood?
However, that apparent Crepe Myrtle tree sap is in fact something called ‘Honeydew’. And Honeydew isn’t produced by the tree to fight bugs. Instead, it is produced by the bugs themselves.
As those bugs feed on the tree, they produce Honeydew. But, Crepe Myrtle wood grain itself is not over-saturated with actual tree sap.
And Is Crepe Myrtle Fire Resistant?
The tree itself is what’s called a ‘fire-retardant tree’. And what that means is that this tree is very resistant to extreme heat and severe drought. So much so, that it can even survive nearby wildfires.
Still, Crepe Myrtle wood is not fireproof. And if you throw a Crepe Myrtle log onto a fireplace, it will catch light.
So, Is Crepe Myrtle Wood Good For My Indoor Fireplace?
It has a low amount of sap, it is not poisonous, and it will catch light and burn. What’s more, it has enough density to it to give off a decent amount of heat.
All of that adds up to Crepe Myrtle making for good firewood.
And, despite its comparatively lower density, Crepe Myrtle does produce a decent amount of heat to rival even Oak and Birch.
That is because it takes more energy for fire to consume this heat-resistant lumber. And the more energy it takes to burn something, the hotter it burns.
To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…
- 1). Good firewood should be dry, contain very little sap/pitch, and it should come from non-poisonous trees.
- 2). Crepe Myrtle wood fits the bill on all three counts. And it burns hot enough to produce a good amount of heat too.
- 3). However, always make sure you season Crepe Myrtle wood before using it for firewood.
Wood Heating | Utah State University
Chimney Fires And Their Causes | StovesOnline.co.uk
Crepe Myrtle | American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals