Any firewood you use in your wood burning stove, even on an open fire, should be seasoned.
If your wood it is not not properly seasoned it will be difficult to start the fire, burning will create a great deal of unpleasant smoke, and the wood will not burn properly or give off heat efficiently as the heat will be busy drying it out.
In addition, the process of burning damp, unseasoned wood will produce residual material , deposits which can clog up your chimney flue or stove and can lead to an increased risk of chimney fires.
Subsequently, seasoning basically means pre-drying and preparing your wood for use so you get the maximum benefit and efficiency from it preventing the by-products of the process damaging your chimney or stove.
So how do you do this?
1.First prepare your logs. When you have harvested your wood, make sure you cut it into logs that are the right length for your fire or stove and split into logs. Smaller logs will dry faster so do make sure you cut to size before the seasoning process proper begins.
2. Store your logs in a dry area like a wood shed. Make sure wherever you choose is well ventilated. Either a wood shed, or alternatively store outside in a stack, so the sun and wind can dry the logs. Many people using the outdoor method will make sure the wood is covered and cannot get soaked with rain or snow. This depends on when you store the wood and when you gather it to take it inside or transfer to a shed.
3. Store the wood for at least a season. By season we mean from the time they are felled to the following Autumn, when you may start needing them. If you can store them for two or more seasons, so much the better but that takes a lot or pre-planning and is not always possible. Simply put, common consensus says any wood should be stored and seasoned for at least six months.
Tip: Hardwoods can take from a year to two years to season properly whereas soft woods like pine will often season more quickly, in six months to a year.
N.B. It is generally thought advantageous to fell trees in the winter, as the sap content is lower.