I grew up in Orlando, FL, and lived in Los Angeles for 8 years, so it’s safe to say I’ve seen my share of palm trees. However, even though we’ve had a palm tree or two cut down, it didn’t cross my mind until recently if they can be used as firewood. So, I set out to learn more. Here’s what I found.
Palm trees can be be burned, but they have a high water content and quick burn rate, so they don’t make great firewood. For this reason, they create a lot of smoke and take a long time to dry out. Due to their grass-like structure, cutting palm trees down with a chainsaw can burn through blades quickly.
So, while palm trees can be used as firewood, they’re really not great unless you dry them out well. Even then, it’s more like burning cardboard and not a good log. But what if you have some palm trees or palmwood laying around? Should you still use it? Let’s take a look.
Are Palm Trees Flammable?
If you live on the coast, especially in the US, you might have access to extra palm trees and wood. If you haven’t tried burning them yet, you might not know what to expect or if they’re even flammable. Well, after some research, I found the answer.
Palm trees are flammable but they take a while to burn, especially if they were recently cut. The high fiber and water content slow down the combustion of the wood. If it’s properly dried, it can be used as a good fire-starter.
Some monocots appear to be woody, such as palm trees, but the wood-like trunk is actually an accumulation of leaf bases.Wisegeek.com
Palm trees get their thickness by compacting grass layers, making them a type of woody herb more than anything else (notice that there aren’t any rings in the “tree” trunk, pictured at the top of the post).
If you try to burn palm trees that aren’t completely dried, it will likely cause a lot of smoke. The fiber and water in the tree are greater than other trees, mainly because the palm tree is a type of grass. What you get by burning palmwood is often the same result as if you burned grass–lots of smoke and short fuel.
However, the hairs on the outside of the tree, once dried, can be used as a decent fire-starter. So, if you have spare palmwood laying around, it does have a use. Although, due to the smoke, it might not be worth burning.
Some tropical countries use it as firewood, but only after it’s dried out well, and even then, they usually mix it with other firewood for better burning.
Are Palm Trees Hard to Cut Down?
Palm trees can be difficult to cut down, mostly because of the amount of fiber in the tree. Because palm trees are a type of grass, it can wear down saws and chainsaws at a much faster rate. You may have to replace the blades, and even the machine, much more often when cutting palm trees.
Before you get started on your tree, consider the different ways to cut down a palm tree.
The moisture content of the wood is part of why it tends to rot chainsaws quickly. For the best results, clean the blade after each use. Palm wood can also be hard to split, due to the fiber, so take caution when splitting the wood. The high fiber and water can make the axe bounce occasionally.
If you’re looking for a good chainsaw to get the job done, this Black and Decker cordless chainsaw on Amazon will definitely do the trick.
How to Dry Palmwood
The best way to dry palmwood is to store it under a covered shelter in a warm and dry spot. Keep the wood on a large cloth to help absorb the moisture. Depending on the heat and sun, the palmwood can take days to weeks to dry.
While cutting and drying palmwood isn’t the most effective means of collecting firewood, if you have the wood and the space for it, it can make for a nice kindling.
Palm trees are less than ideal when it comes to being used as firewood. However, if it’s all you have, drying it out and mixing it with some other firewood could do you some good.
If you’re considering cutting down a palm tree, it can be best to call out the professionals as it can be tricky to fell. For a visual on how a tree service might do this, check out this video by AJ’s Tree Care.