Harvesting Firewood

Generating firewood from your own backyard woods has many rewards from the satisfaction of burning your own wood to saving money. If done right, harvesting firewood can actually improve the health and value of your woods!  

Tips for Getting Started

  • Develop a Plan!  Mark the trees you want to keep.  Consider which trees you want to remain standing and growing for the long-term. Then identify which trees should be removed due to disease, poor structure or competition with "leave" trees.
  • ALWAYS use personal protective equipement. Saftey gear such as chaps, helmet, eye protection, hearing protection, and gloves can save your life.
  • Don't just harvest fallen trees for firewood. While this saves the complicated step of cutting down a tree, it’s not always the best for the health of your woods. Decaying trees produce nutrients for remaining plants and trees, as well as habitat for animals.

Watch This Video

"Firewood from Small Private Woodlots" An archived webinar presented by: Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell


Explore These Resources

Residential Wood Heating Website, mainatined by VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Help Preferred Trees Grow Factsheet, a National Arbor Day Foundation Backyard Woods Tip Sheet on selecting which trees to remove and which trees to keep.

Harvesting Firewood from Your Woods, a joint publication of UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources (WI-DNR) that includes everything from forest biology to planning a harvest to processing trees for firewood. This publication also includes a chart of common trees with firewood value.

Work Safely With a Chain Saw, a National Arbor Day Foundation Backyard Woods Tip Sheet on chain saw safety.

Game of Logging, a training program and courses on chainsaw safety and directional tree felling offered by Northeast Woodland Training


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