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Is Crepe Myrtle Wood Good for Firewood?

is crepe myrtle wood good for firewood

Is crepe myrtle good to use as firewood? Yes. Crepe myrtle wood can be good for firewood as it is quick to ignite, and burns nice and hot. However, it should never be your first choice for firewood as there are far better better options available. 

While crepe myrtle is one of the rarest trees in the United States, it is still in abundance in some parts of the country.

As a result, a lot of people wonder whether crepe myrtle wood is good for firewood. As a wood primarily used for arts and crafts, some actually fancy it as firewood. Let’s take a deeper look at all the benefits crepe myrtle wood has to offer.

What is Crepe Myrtle Wood?

Crepe myrtle wood is a wood that comes from the crepe myrtle tree. These trees are famed for the beautiful colors that they produce when they flower. As a result, they are often a staple in the gardens of people that want to add a dash of color, particularly during the summer months. They are a brilliant ornamental tree.

Finding them in the United States is hard, though. This is because the tree is not native to the United States. Instead, it was shipped over from India and Australia for those people that wanted a decorative plant.

Due to the origins of the plant, it is only able to thrive in the warmest climates. This means that you are more likely to find Crepe myrtle wood in the southern states. There also seems to be a decent population of the tree in Oregon.

When you do find Crepe Myrtle Wood, it is likely to just be one or two trees as opposed to vast forests of them.

How is Crepe Myrtle Wood Often Used?

As you will soon discover, it is rare that crepe myrtle wood is used for burning.

Nowadays, crepe myrtle wood is mostly used for arts and crafts projects. If you head to somewhere that this wood is abundant, then you will find many stores playing host to items made from the wood, particularly bowls.

In the past, the wood would also have been used for medicinal purposes. However, we wouldn’t really recommend using the crepe myrtle for medicinal purposes now. The wood and leaves can be pretty toxic and have been known to cause skin irritation. 

How Does Crepe Myrtle Wood Burn?

You would think that crepe myrtle wood would burn slowly. It is a hardwood, after all. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Crepe myrtle wood, as with all woods, will need to be seasoned before you burn it. Once you have seasoned it, the wood will become lighter and far less dense.

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Most people compare the burn of myrtle wood to that of pine. Myrtle wood burns a little bit slower than pine, but not too much. So, with myrtle wood, you can expect something that is:

  • Quick to ignite
  • Fast burning
  • It Burns nice and hot

So, if you want a wood that burns hot for a short period of time, then myrtle wood is probably going to be just the ticket. You will need stacks and stacks of it if you want to keep the campfire burning for hours and hours on end.

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What Does Myrtle Wood Smell Like When It Burns?

Because myrtle wood is not frequently burned, mostly due to the rarity of it, there doesn’t seem to be that much agreement on what it actually smells like when it is being used.

Most people will liken the scent to that of a very strong spice. This will be the sap inside of the myrtle wood that bubbles and burns off rather quickly. If you smell the barm of myrtle wood before you burn it, then that fragrant scent is exactly what you are going to be getting when you set the myrtle wood alight. 

That being said, this fragrance doesn’t last for that long. Once the sap inside has bubbled away, the smell is likened to just being ‘smokey’. It certainly isn’t something that smells clean once it has been burning for a while.

This is why many people will actually avoid using myrtle wood for smoking foods, despite it producing a significant amount of smoke.

Is Myrtle Wood Good for a Campfire?

Myrtle wood is good for a campfire if you are only burning myrtle wood.

If you are burning the leaves of the myrtle, then it will give off toxic fumes. This can result in headaches and nausea. 

We also wouldn’t recommend using myrtle wood for a campfire wood if you are planning on cooking over the campfire.

While the wood itself shouldn’t be that much of a problem, you are running the risk of leaves and the like getting mixed up in the wood which could cause toxic fumes to enter the food. This probably isn’t going to be the most pleasant experience in the world.

You should also be aware that myrtle wood is a ridiculously hard wood. Most people will avoid it for campfires for this reason alone. It is tough to split, so most people will only ever use myrtle wood with their campfire if they are not able to source any other type of wood around them. 

Myrtle wood, as with all wood, will need to be properly seasoned and dried out before you burn it. Under no circumstances should you be burning greenwood. This doesn’t just apply to the myrtle wood, but all types of wood.

Do bear in mind that myrtle wood will be producing a lot of smoke. The more you are burning, the smokier things will get. So, if you are not a fan of smokey campfires, then myrtle wood is probably not going to be the right choice for you. 

That being said, most people would never really burn myrtle wood unless they had to. In the United States, it is one of the most valuable woods around. This is because it is often used in all sorts of woodturning and woodcarving applications. If you are enjoying the great outdoors, then why not use the wood for that purpose instead?

Final Thoughts

While myrtle wood can be used as a campfire wood, it probably shouldn’t be your first choice.

Not only is it rare, but it has far better uses than just being thrown on top of a fire and burned away. This is why very few people have written about using crepe myrtle wood for fires. It just isn’t the ‘done thing’.

If you are looking around for wood, then look for other species before you resort to crepe myrtle wood.

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