Seasoning firewood removes moisture from the wood, making it easier to burn and less likely to smoke or spark. Birch firewood is properly seasoned when the moisture content falls below 20 per cent of the log's weight. Splitting the birch logs will speed up the process by exposing more surface area to the air so that moisture can evaporate. Seasoning takes time, so be prepared to wait before you throw that birch log on your fire.
Cut and store birch firewood in the autumn, one year before you will need it. Firewood split the same year will not burn well. If possible, fell birch trees in the summer and leave them intact on the ground for two to four weeks. Branches and twigs will pull moisture from the trunk, speeding up the drying process.
Place wooden pallets in an open area, well away from homes or buildings. The pallets will allow air to circulate under the stack of birch firewood. Distance from buildings will reduce fire hazards and allow air penetration from the back of the stacked pile.
Stack the logs with each layer perpendicular to the one below it, to increase air circulation throughout the stack.
Spread a transparent plastic sheet over the stack of birch firewood. Secure it at the bottom on all sides with stakes. Pierce the sides of the tarp with a knife so that moisture can escape as the pile dries. Heat from the sun will be trapped inside the tarp, killing insects and their eggs, and preventing moisture from rainfall from entering the pile.
- It's ideal to have a shed or canopy to stack firewood in for seasoning, because it keeps outdoor moisture from penetrating the wood. A tarp-covered pile in a sunny, open spot is the next best thing.
- Don't leave your winter supply of birch firewood in the house during the following summer. Doing so will increase the chances of insect infestation in your home. Remove it in the spring, and bring it back indoors in the autumn.
- Vmelinda/iStock/Getty Images