If you have a pine tree or two in your yard or like going for walks with pine trees you may want to do something with all of those pine cones that have fallen, a great option is to burn them in a fireplace or a wood-burning stove.
While quick-burning, pine cones are not a great fuel source in isolation, they can be great to use as kindling in either a fireplace or wood stove.
It’s easy to make fire-starters out of pine cones. Simply dip the cones into melted wax (beeswax is a good natural wax and burns more cleanly than other kinds) and let them dry completely before using them. You can also tie a 6-inch piece of candle wick to the cones before dipping them. The string serves as a wick when lighting your fire.
Do pine cones explode in fire?
Pine cones do not normally explode when you put them in a fire, though they can make a popping or cracking sound. To avoid this sound, make sure the cones are completely dry before burning them.
If you are in a rush, you can dry them out quickly by setting your oven to 150-200° F and placing your cones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake them for about an hour to dry up any moisture. Otherwise just leave them in a warm, dry spot to dry out naturally for a couple of days.
Do pine cones smell when burned?
Pine cones can give off a pleasant pine scent when they are burned in a fireplace or wood stove.
The only thing to look out for is sap on your cones. The sap can cause creosote (a residue that is highly combustible and can cause a risk of fire in your chimney), so make sure your pine cones don’t have any sap on them before you burn them. If your cones have any sap on them you can clean it off with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Just make sure to rinse off and dry before putting in your fireplace.
What is a pine cone?
Pine cones aren’t just pretty accessories for pine trees. They actually have a very important role.
A pine cone’s job is to keep the tree’s seeds safe from cold temperatures, wind, and hungry animals. Seeds grow underneath the scales of the pine cones.
A pine tree can have male or female pine cones. The female cones contain seeds while the male cones contain pollen. Female cones grow higher up on the tree so that the wind can blow pollen up from the male cones to the seeds in the female cones. Female cones are usually larger and harder than male cones. If you go looking for pine cones you will most likely be collecting the females, as the males are smaller and softer.
When do pine cones fall?
It takes about two to three years for a female pine cone to come to maturity, at which point it opens up its scales and drops its seeds. After it drops its seeds the pine cone is no longer needed and it falls to the ground.
While most pine cones fall during the fall, they can start in the summer. You can find most pine cones on the ground between September and December. Finishing its job isn’t the only reason a pine cone can fall, however. High winds or lack of water can make underdeveloped pine cones fall from the branches of a pine tree.
Why do pine cones open and close?
You may notice at different times and in different types of weather that pine cones open and close. The scales of the pine cones react to changes in humidity. If it’s warm and dry out, the pine cone will open up to let out the seeds inside. When it’s damp or cold out, the scales close to protect the seeds inside.
The mechanics of the pine cone are very simple. When the cone is wet the cells expand, and when it’s dry they shrink. Think of a wet and a dry sponge. Scientists have discovered that when water lands on the outside of the scales it is directed towards the inner part, which responds by closing the whole cone so the seeds don’t get wet.
Pine cones can even open and close after they fall from the tree! Place a pine cone in a bowl of warm water to see how it works.
Pine cones are some of nature’s beauties. They can be used for a variety of arts and crafts and can add a lot to a fall or winter decoration. They can also be used to help start a fire in your fireplace or wood-burning stove, and they will add a pleasant scent to your home.
If you have a lot in your backyard or have collected a bagful on your walk through the woods, dry them out a bit and put them to good use in keeping your house warm!
If you’re looking for information about different types of wood to burn in a fireplace or wood stove, check out our guides on burning cedar and burning pine wood and whether it is a good idea or not.