Thinking about skiing?

Are you excited for winter? We have two new videos out this month featuring the famous and amazing skier with a sweet mohawk, Glen Plake, and his love for trees. Check out the first of these two videos here and share it with your friends!


Ash trees down the street

A reader question today regarding using wood from down the road.


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

We have one ash tree in our yard. We also burn wood. We have a chance to get some wood down the street from us, but it is an ash tree and we don't know if the ash borer dies off at a time, hibernates, we just don't want to bring the borer to our house for our tree, but we need the wood to burn at our house. Can you help me? Thank You for your time in this matter.




Dear Rita,

Using wood from a tree that is truly just from down the street- like under a mile or two- is not going to cause any problems, barring the unlikely chance the street itself directly crosses a regulated-to-unregulated county or state line. The emerald ash borer can fly a few miles on its own, so when we are talking very short distances like that, there is no harm to be done.


You also have a really good question about whether the emerald ash borer "dies off, hibernates…" Indeed, like many pests, the emerald ash borer spends the winter in a dormant (like hibernating) state within the wood. So if you want to be super careful about your neighbor's ash wood that you are planning on burning- burn it first! Use their wood up in the midst of winter, when the pests are dormant in the wood, and any very small risks you were taking by moving the wood that short distance become even smaller risks.


Good luck and I'm so glad I can help you find a safe source of wood to heat your home.





Dying oak trees

A reader question about their dying oaks, and what to do about it…


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

We've had some oak trees die in our neighborhood this summer. I've lost one and was wondering if there was something I could do, like maybe add something to the soil that might help.


Concerned Tree Owner


Dear Concerned,


I'm sorry to hear about your oaks. There are many things that could be affecting your oaks- some of them are environmental (like drought stress) and others are native pests (like two-lined chestnut borer) and lastly, it could be non-native pests (like goldspotted oak borer or Sudden oak death). However, without further information, I have no idea what might be the issue with your oaks.


However, as we have said before, the most important thing after you have noticed something is wrong is to ask a professional for help. A certified arborist, a master gardener, or someone from the County Extension offices near you might be able to come over and give a diagnosis- or at least a really good guess- regarding what's up with your trees. In some cases, treatments could be reasonable and affordable. In other cases, the tree may not be saved. You won't know until you have a qualified opinion from someone that knows your area.


Good luck, and I hope you can save your other trees.


Request for a firewood permit

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we got a request for a permit to move a cord of firewood across New England, through several states and over 160 miles. For one thing, we don't have the authority to give out permits. But more importantly- this isn't a good idea. New England has a wide variety of forest pests, many of which have only a few locations where they are infesting the trees. Moving firewood that far has the potential to make a new infestation- one literally right in your backyard.


So, can you legally take a cord of wood from central Vermont, through New Hampshire, and then use it all winter in Southern Massachusetts, right near the Rhode Island border? Technically, yes, assuming you don't drive through the quarantined area around Worcester in central Massachusetts and put yourself in a position to accidentally violate the terms of the Asian longhorned beetle quarantine. But please don't move firewood that far. Even if you did burn it all by April, when insects and diseases in the wood could emerge, it simply isn't a smart move for the health of your trees and forests.





Christmas Trees question time!

It is that time of year again, when everyone starts emailing us here at Don’t Move Firewood to ask the excellent, pertinent, logical question: BUT WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS TREES?

Easy! Just like firewood- buy local, and/or buy from a reputable dealer. Christmas trees are actually a pretty well regulated product, so as long as you are buying from a licensed local business, your potential to accidentally spread pests is very low. For our full listing on this topic, visit our Holiday Greenery Resource Page. Happy Holiday Season!

Press Release: The Importance of Trees in Hurricane Sandy

This just in! Don't Move Firewood's official press release for Superstorm Sandy in regards to tree health, safety, and awareness.

The Importance of Trees in Hurricane Sandy:

How to Keep our Trees Healthy and Resilient in the Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy took down countless trees along the East Coast this week—toppling onto cars and
buildings, blocking roads, and tragically causing the deaths of at least a dozen people along the East
Coast. In the aftermath of severe storms like this, trees get lots of attention and are pointed to as the
cause of loss of power and damage to property. However, while some trees do come down in high wind
and extreme weather events, the majority of healthy trees survive severe storms and slow down high
winds while absorbing both excess rainfall and heavy storm waters.

In the wake of major storms like Hurricane Sandy, it is extremely important to remember that moving
storm debris, limbs, and downed trees over long distances can inadvertently spread tree-killing insects
to new places. Many areas affected by Hurricane Sandy are under quarantines that specifically prohibit
the movement of tree-based storm debris (including debris that has been cut into pieces of firewood).

Nearly all the states affected by Hurricane Sandy have at least one quarantined county that regulates
the movement of wood in order to minimize the spread of invasive tree pests such as Asian longhorned
beetle and emerald ash borer. Storm debris from downed trees and branches should be disposed of using one
of the following safer ways: brought to a local solid waste facility (i.e. landfill), set out for or brought to a
licensed city composting facility, brought to a registered storm debris disposal yard, or used on site for
firewood. Consult local newspapers and storm information to find out which of these options is best in
your area.

It is especially important to remember that trees planted near homes and roads need to be properly
pruned to minimize potential damage and failure, especially near power lines. When planting new trees,
it is helpful to select a species that will not grow too tall and interfere with power lines to minimize
future damage. As cities look to replant choosing the right tree and putting the right tree in the right
place will create a more sustainable—and storm resistant—landscape for years to come.

Despite the damage trees can cause in extreme weather events, healthy trees in urban and suburban
areas are important for a safer and cleaner urban infrastructure. Trees provide the many benefits to
both people and wildlife in city settings:

• Improving water quality by minimizing erosion, slowing the flow of precipitation, and minimizing
flooding during heavy rain events
• Mitigating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, regulating local climate by
lowering daily temperature variation, and reducing energy expenditure on heating and cooling
• Providing shade and improving local air quality by removing air pollutants and producing oxygen
• Creating valuable habitat for wildlife, and shade and a natural environment for city residents


Learn more about The Right Tree in the Right Place at the Arbor Day Foundation

To learn more about the issue of the movement of firewood, please visit

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world
to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy
and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of
more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117
million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit us on the Web at

Apple and Oak to the Great Smoky Mountains?

Let's start off this Monday right with our occasional advice column, Dear Don't Move Firewood!


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

Is it legal to move fruit wood (I.e., apple / plum) from non-quarantined counties to the great smoky mtns?  Same question for oak.




Dear Mike,

Excellent question, and a tough one. Apple, plum, and oak woods are all hardwoods, and therefore subject to many many quarantines around the country. If, indeed, you are moving wood from a completely non-quarantined county, it would probably be technically legal. However- the list of quarantined counties is vast (see here for a recent list


More importantly, the list of quarantined counties does not include counties that have pests that are undiscovered- of course! And that right there is a reality. There are pests that can travel in apple, plum, and oak firewood that might be present, but not yet quarantined, in your area.


Therefore, here's our suggestion. If you live in a completely non-quarantined county, and are less than 50 miles from Great Smoky Mountains national park, it is very unlikely to cause harm to move your firewood, so that's OK. But if you are farther away, please play it safe. Use the wood at home, and buy or gather wood at the park.



Don't Move Firewood


P.S. Apple and Plum wood are great for smoked meat recipes. Maybe you could get creative and smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving? Keep the wood at home for a delicious treat.


There’s a sticker that says Go Ahead, Move Firewood

Maybe you’ve seen it- the bumper sticker that says, “Go Ahead, Move Firewood. The bugs will get there eventually anyway.” And you may be able to guess that here at Don’t Move Firewood, we don’t really appreciate that sentiment. Because while some bugs might get there eventually…


Wait… what? Did we just say the bugs WILL get there eventually? OK, not exactly. This is complicated.


Let’s take the case of European Spongy Moth. In the 140 years since spongy moth arrived, it has since infested roughly 1/4 of the country. The moth sadly does quite well in native North American forests, so the slow expansion of the edge of the spongy moth territory is indeed inevitable.


But in the case of a pest like the Asian longhorned beetle, they shouldn’t and won’t get there eventually. The Asian longhorned beetle moves slowly and doesn’t fly far. Eradication of every ALB in all the known infestations is totally possible- if the right steps are taken, like not moving firewood and reporting all bug sightings.


That’s why we here at Don’t Move Firewood strenously disagree with this bumper sticker- there are too many situations in which moving firewood is completely making the problem bigger, worse, and much more expensive.


But wait! Let’s look back at spongy moth. Right now, the spread of this pest is curtailed by a slew of really effective programs, including trapping, local eradication, phermone releases (this keeps the moths from breeding so effectively), public education, and of course Don’t Move Firewood efforts. These efforts will combine to protect 160 million acres of trees from death by moth over the next 20 years. That is a LOT of trees that will shade your street, homes, and natural places for another two decades if you live somewhere like Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois… states on the edge of the spongy moth line.


Wouldn’t you rather that spongy moth takes another THREE HUNDRED years to reach the Pacific Ocean? Not a three day road trip in contaminated firewood, but rather three CENTURIES? That’s the goal of Don’t Move Firewood. We have hope that your actions, and the actions of your friends, will make a difference for today, tomorrow, and even hundreds of years.


don't move firewood, it bugs me sticker for not moving firewooddon't move firewood sticker that says that's what tree said don't move firewood

Impressive new study released on insects in firewood

All our favorite facebook, twitter, and email accounts are buzzing today with the news of the newly released scientific paper on live tree pests (both insects and other arthropods) that emerge from firewood. You can read an excellent short summary of the paper here, titled Insects Found in Nearly 50% of Retail Firewood, or you can read the whole paper here if you have a subscription.


The one highlight that really sticks out for me is that live insects emerged from 47% of the firewood bundles in the study. That means that half of the firewood could have served to create a new insect infestation.


We'll report on this study more once we've had a chance to read the whole thing!



Stocking up for the winter ahead

It's that time of year again! Leaves are starting to turn, mornings are getting cold, and frost is in the forecast. If you heat your home or cabin with a woodstove, it is probably time to stock up on a cord or two. Follow these quick tips to help minimize the potential threat this firewood could pose to the trees on your property.


#1 – Know your state regulations before you call dealers. Check out our state map for a good start in your area.


#2 – Ask questions about the wood source before you buy it (or have it delivered). Where was it cut? Is that within your county? Ideally, it should be within 10 miles of where you will burn it, but up to 50 miles is still okay in some areas. Does it comply with your state's regulations (see question #1!)?


#3 – Store it away from your house, and don't stack it between two trees. Firewood up against an outside wall is both a fire hazard, and a potential structural pest issue (like termites). And a large tight stack firewood between two live trees stresses the trunks and can permanently damage their bark and roots. Make the pile on a rack, or freestanding, if you can.


Good luck, and stay warm!