Dear Don’t Move Firewood,
I live in NJ near the Asian Longhorn beetle problem… I was browsing on Craigslist for something and came across this guy trying to sell his oak trees in (town), NJ. This got me worried and want to ensure it was OK for him to move this stuff all over the state but I can’t find any info anywhere on how to check it out or who to alert that he is doing this. Is moving this wood OK?
Concerned Citizen (editor’s note: question was edited for length)
Dear Concerned Citizen,
I’m so glad you asked, because this is a common scenario. Someone cuts down trees and wants to get rid of the wood. What then? Well, for New Jersey, let’s ask Carl Schulz, Director of the Division of Plant Industry for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, for an official statement. Here’s what Carl says:
“The State of New Jersey does not regulate the movement of firewood, now that the ALB quarantine has been rescinded, following our successful eradication campaign in partnership with the USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine program and the New Jersey Forest Service. The Department of Agriculture has an aggressive outreach project to strongly encourage consumers to buy their firewood locally, and to not transport firewood.
The National Park Service doesn’t allow firewood to be brought into their campgrounds at Delaware Water Gap or Sandy Hook; the New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry discourages visitors from bringing firewood in their facilities – firewood can be purchased at most New Jersey State Parks with camping facilities; and the majority of private campgrounds in New Jersey do not allow firewood to be brought into their campgrounds and have firewood available for purchase.”
So the short answer is that while this oak wood should not be moved, it isn’t regulated nor prohibited. It is just strongly suggested that they not move it very far. There would be nothing wrong with someone selling oak wood locally- perhaps a neighbor wants to use it as firewood, or a custom furniture maker in town wants the oak slabs for woodwork. That’d be fine. But it is inadvisable to move it more than 50 miles maximum, ideally under 10 or 20.
Also, one final point of clarification for readers. While moving oak wood isn’t a good idea because it could spread all sorts of pests that affect oak (potentially pests like oak wilt, sudden oak death, spongy moth, others) the Asian longhorned beetle itself does not infest oaks. Plenty of pests do infest oaks, but ALB does not.