How to Select Firewood From Cull Trees

How to Select Firewood From Cull TreesIf you like the outdoors and either own a woodlot or have a fireplace at home, a worthy project is to combine a little forest management with cutting your own supply of firewood. In many instances, the only good use for a cull tree is to cut and split it into firewood, and often the forest as a whole benefits from that tree's removal. All it takes is spending some time on organization before you start logging.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Colored string, tape or cans of spray paint
Step 1
Identify the cull trees in the forest or woodlot. These are basically "useless" trees. For example, a knotty tree is not much good for commercial use. A half-dead and rotten tree can also be culled. A warped, crooked or leaning tree is occupying more canopy space than it really needs and is therefore preventing the growth of young trees and harming the forest as a whole.
Step 2
Identify the cull trees by species. Good firewood trees are ash, birch, beech, cherry, hickory, hard maple and oak. Other species, like pine or soft maple, are not as desirable as firewood.
Step 3
Sort and organize the cull trees into groups by how easy it will be to harvest them for firewood and how beneficial it would be to the forest to cull a particular tree. For example, a heavily-knotted tree will be harder to split, especially if you are working by hand. They should be ranked below cull trees that won't make the best firewood, but are easier to cut and split. On the other hand, a leaning tree that is covering a lot of forest floor should go straight to the top of the list.
Step 4
Tag all the cull trees in the woodlot by either tying colored tape or string around them, or by blazing them with spray paint. Choose a color for every grouping in Step 3 and mark the trees accordingly. This will keep your logging organized over time.

Tips & Warnings

If you do not own a woodlot, a good way to collect firewood and cull trees is to either join a park rehabilitation project or check websites like for opportunities. There are often a number of openings to cull trees and turn them into firewood offered by those who are looking for free labor, and the result is a win-win for everybody concerned.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.