As people turn to burning wood over the coming winter in order to reduce heating costs, it's good to have some guidance about which woods to choose for efficiency and effectiveness. The Firewood Poem is a good place to start. A writing credit for the poem goes to Celia Congreve, and Allpoetry.com says that it was first published in The Times on March 2nd 1930 although on the same website, Dave Pouting quotes a slightly different version that he says was published in the Hunters Journal in 1924.
The basic advice is to avoid elm, poplar and elder and go for ash every time. Sadly (or happily depending on how you view it) thanks to ash die back, there is plenty of the beloved weed tree around both now and for the foreseeable future.
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.