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Oak trees are among the most popular species globally, with over 600 different subspecies. However, one of the significant problems with these trees is the sheer number of acorns these trees drop during the fall. While most of us (myself included) simply lawnmower over or crush up our acorns, one suggestion many people have been suggesting to me is to burn acorns. So can you burn acorns in a fireplace?
You can burn acorns in a fireplace. Acorns should, however, be crushed into kindling or smaller-sized chunks before being placed in a fireplace. Should acorns be placed in a fireplace whole, they may crack or split and will take much longer to burn.
While you can burn acorns in a fireplace, they are not the most practical firewood taking much longer to burn than other tree types.
So what is the exact step-by-step process for burning acorns? And what species of acorns work best as firewood? Keep reading to find out more.
Can you burn acorns in a fireplace?
I contacted a few different sources to determine if you can burn acorns in a fireplace.
I got in touch with my local botanical gardens, reached out to my gardener, and even touched base with a fire engineer to ask them if burning acorns in a fireplace were possible.
On top of this, I surveyed five plant paladin readers with oak trees and asked if they burn acorns in a fireplace.
- You can burn acorns in a fireplace or firepit.
- This is so long as the acorns have been chipped or chopped into smaller chunks.
- If acorns are put in a fireplace as whole acorns, they will take much longer to heat up and reach the burning point.
- Acorns can also contain moisture inside them, so if they are not crushed into smaller pieces, they can pop and split, which can spit embers or douse the heat of a fire.
- The main reason people will burn acorns is for disposal or firewood kindling.
- If crushed, acorn wood can make good fire kindling.
- It is essential, however, to check your fireplace first, as not all fireplaces may be suitable for using acorn kindling.
- Acorn kindling works much better for usage in firepits which typically have more extensive, wider openings.
How to burn acorns in a fireplace?
So now we know you can burn acorns in a fireplace; what do you have to do to burn your acorns?
Gather your acorns
First up, you need to gather your acorns.
If your backyard is anything like mine, you can grab them from the ground, especially if you have an oak tree growing nearby.
Avoid picking acorns directly from oak trees, as they are often too ripe.
Alternatively, you can pick most acorns from the wild so long as you have the permission of the forest landowners.
If you want to purchase acorns specifically for firewood, save yourself some trouble and ensure you get acorns that have already been crushed.
This will allow you to skip the next step.
Crush your acorns
Next up, if you are using raw acorns, wash them to remove any toxins on your acorns.
After all, the last thing you want is for your acorns to have pollutants on them can be toxic when you burn them.
Once washed, dry your acorns and spread them out evenly in an open space.
Then wait 24 to 48 hours for these acorns to completely dry out.
The dryer the acorns will be, the better their chance of burning consistently.
Once dry, chop your acorns into much smaller grit pieces.
Now you want to avoid chopping your acorns to the point where they are too fine and have a sandy-like substance.
Instead, cut your acorns into 0.5 to 1.5 cm chunks.
Start by removing the bottom cups of the acorns.
Then cut the acorns into smaller pieces using a sharp knife, a hammer or pestle, and mortar.
If you want to speed up the process, use a blender with a sharp blade or a wood chopper if you have one.
Place the acorns grit in the fire
Finally, it’s time to place your chopped acorns into a fire.
To do this, I would mix ordinary firewood and the acorn grit you have just created.
As such, place your regular burning wood on the base of your fire.
Then using a fireproof trowel or shovel, gently place your acorns on top of the fire.
The acorns will burn slower than the traditional firewood, so don’t fret if your acorn grit doesn’t look like it burns.
After about 20 to 30 minutes, add more acorn chunks to your fire.
Using a firepit instead of a fireplace, you can place your acorn grit directly in the firepit as kindling.
Just ensure that if this is your first time burning acorns in a fireplace, you take your time and do it under supervision.
Acorns are not traditionally used as firewood, so care must be taken when fiddling around with something as dangerous as fire.
Should you burn acorns in a fireplace?
While you can burn acorns in a fireplace, it is not practical. This is because acorns need a lot of heat to burn. Instead, alternative firewood will burn much more quickly and for much longer than using acorns.
If you use acorns for firewood, consider chopping them into smaller chunks to allow them to burn much more effortlessly.
What fireplace can you burn acorns in?
The best fireplaces to burn acorns in are traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Place the acorn chunks on the existing wood logs, and your acorns will eventually burn.
Outdoor firepits are also very practical for burning acorns and can be used.
Not all fireplaces are created equal, so I avoid burning acorns in electric or faux wood fireplaces like the one I’ve pictured below.
While these fireplaces will get hot, acorns need active fire to burn, so you will need help to get your acorns to light if you try to burn them in one of these.
What acorns work best for burning?
Acorns that have been chopped and dried for a few days will be the best acorns to use in a fire. No subspecies of acorns has an advantage over the other when it comes to burning them.
Avoid using acorns freshly picked from oak trees, as these tend to hold onto moisture for too long and can crack or pop if placed in a fire without chopping up.
How big should acorns be when burning them in a fireplace?
If you use acorns for firewood, ensure you chop them into smaller-sized pieces between 0.5 to 1cm. This will allow them to burn more quickly and make it easier to catch fire.
Is it dangerous to burn acorns in a fireplace?
It is not dangerous to burn acorns in a fireplace so long as they have been crushed or chopped and no accelerants such as gasoline are used. Acorns retain heat well once they catch fire, so they can burn for a prolonged period.
As with any gas fire or open fire, it is essential to be vigilant regardless of how safe your gas fire may seem.
Are acorns flammable?
Acorns are not flammable as they do not ignite easily or burn at a fast rate. Once on fire, however, acorns can burn substantially longer than other nuts. For best results, chop acorns and ensure they are dry if you do want to set fire to your acorns.
Why do people burn acorns?
The most common reason people burn acorns is to dispose of them. Oak trees typically drop a lot of acorns during the fall, so the most convenient way to dispose of them is by burning them.
Another reason for burning acorns is for firewood, although this is much less common and is less effective than burning other firewood.
Are acorns good for kindling?
Acorns do not make good firewood or kindling if raw. This is because they can pop or crack due to the moisture inside them and take a significant amount of time to heat up. Chopped dried acorns work better for firewood/kindling, but better alternatives such as American beech will work the best.
How hot do temperatures need to be for acorns to burn?
Chopped dried acorns need a minimum temperature of 174 degrees Fahreinght (78 degrees Celsius) to burn. Acorns that have not been dried or chopped will need significantly higher temperatures, up to 700 degrees F (371 Degrees C), to burn.
Most acorns will need exposure for a prolonged period to burn as they are not naturally flammable.
Should you use lighter fluids when burning acorns in a fireplace?
Lighter fluid should not be used when burning acorns in a fireplace. Acorns can burn by themselves if they have been dried and chopped. Using lighter fluid on acorns in a fireplace can lead to uncontrollable fires and will not be safe.
Can you burn acorns in a fireplace – survey
Finally, I asked five plant paladin readers if they burn acorns in a fireplace.
This post was written by Fehed Nicass, who has been passionate about bonsai for over three years.