Here at Don’t Move Firewood, we get a lot of interesting ideas and news from our Contact Us page. Not infrequently, we get people that want to promote a legitimate product to replace conventional cut-wood firewood, something like a compressed sawdust log, or a pressed wood log, or pellets, or some other reclaimed wood product.
For the record; as long as there are minimal or, ideally, no other products (glue, solvent, etc) and the wood source in the “log” is well-conceived (reclaimed, waste product, recycled sawdust, sustainably sourced scrap wood, small diameter thinned wood, fire salvage wood, whatever), we DO agree that your product is a viable replacement for the occasional firewood user. And if it is made from either heat treated material, or material processed into very small pieces, then we also agree it is generally safe to move long distances.
However, we do not promote these items. There are two reasons for this;
1) Don’t Move Firewood is part of a non-profit. As such, we cannot confer gain upon a for-profit-entity. Bluntly, we can’t promote your product because the government says that we can’t, and we play strictly by their rules.
2) Firewood is, at its core, not the problem. The decentralized movement of firewood by both individuals and firewood distributors, sometimes going long distances, is the problem. Firewood replacement products, which represent a small part of the firewood market, are therefore not the answer to the most pressing issue.
We think many of your products are great, and please keep up the good work. But we can’t promote them, and to say they solve the problem misses the bigger picture that free and untreated firewood is always going to be out there, and people need to learn not to move it long distances.
BEWARE OF UNWANTED GARDEN AND TREE PESTS DURING SPRING CLEANUP
Tree-killing insects and diseases can be spread when disposing of yard waste
ARLINGTON, VA—March 20, 2013 – On the first day of spring, homeowners and gardeners nationwide are considering the annual task of cleaning up their yards and gardens to prepare for the growing season. This past winter has brought ample snow, rain and wind in most parts of the nation, knocking down more than the usual share of branches and even entire trees. Gardeners, landscapers, and anyone working outside this spring need to know that tree branches, firewood, and cleared brush can harbor invasive insects and diseases, making proper use or disposal critical to preventing the spread of tree-killing pests.
“Even experts can’t always detect a couple of pin-head size insect eggs or a few microscopic fungus spores hidden in wood; however, these tiny threats are enough to destroy an entire forest,” said Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager, The Nature Conservancy. “Disposing of tree debris, brush, and other yard waste either on site or through municipal composting is the best way that homeowners can prevent spreading tree-killing pests as they clean up their yards and gardens this spring.”
More than 450 non-native forest insects and diseases are now established in the United States. While most can’t move far on their own, many pests can hitchhike undetected on firewood and brush, starting new infestations in locations hundreds of miles away. These infestations can destroy forests, lower property values, and cost huge sums of money to control. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, estimates for damage costs in urban areas for just one invasive pest, the Asian longhorned beetle, range from $1.7 billion for nine selected cities to $669 billion for the entire United States.
Pest infestations can take years to be recognized by the authorities because sometimes trees appear healthy despite harboring harmful organisms. Many states have either regulations or quarantines relating to the movement of raw logs, unprocessed wood, or firewood. Depending on the types of problems present in a given state, these regulations might include cut firewood, raw logs under a certain length, high risk species of trees or brush, or other woody materials. Some of the invasive pests that have prompted both federal and state quarantines include the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth, pine shoot beetle, sudden oak death, sirex wood wasp, and the hemlock woolly adelgid.
“During the spring, people also can be on the lookout for signs of invasive pests as they work in their yards and gardens,” said Greenwood. “Symptoms might include unusual holes in trees, late or damaged leaf buds, or a pattern of dead tips on otherwise healthy branches. Although these insects and diseases can sometimes be difficult to detect, observant, concerned citizens are usually the ones who discover new infestations.”
Tips for spring cleanup:
If you don’t want to keep your firewood until next winter, don’t be tempted to take it with you when camping this spring or summer. Instead, you can give it to your next-door neighbor, burn or chip it on site, or dispose of it locally.
Hire a tree service or rent a tree chipper to shred fallen trees and branches and brush into mulch for your own garden beds and landscaping projects.
Many areas now offer a yard waste recycling program. Contact your municipal solid waste management department for information specific to your area.
If a yard waste recycling or composting program is not available, and you cannot keep it on site, brush, logs, and branches should be disposed of in a local landfill.
During your spring cleanup, if you notice an insect or tree disease you don’t recognize, take a photo or obtain a specimen of it, and compare it to Web site photos of the suspected pest. A good resource to help in identification is: http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/gallery-of-pests.
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 www.nature.org.
Tomorrow is the quirky celebration of Pi day, known to geometry students world wide as “that day when our teacher finally thinks it is smart to bring a delicious pie to school.” In case you don’t get the reference, Pi day is because of the amazing never ending number 3.14(etc) that is critical to calculating the dimensions of all circles and spheres. And tomorrow is 3/14.
Why are we mentioning Pi day? Well, here at Don’t Move Firewood, we are working hard to protect your pies for generations to come. Like the traditional apple pie! Apple trees are under threat from many pests that move on firewood, including gypsy moth and of course the light brown apple moth.
I have a tenant who brought ash firewood from Massachusetts to Connecticut without my prior knowledge and has stored the wood on the property within the structure. I am reporting this as I am concerned for both the home and other trees on my property.
Yours, Worried in CT
First, let me put your mind at ease in terms of the risk to your rental property’s structure. The emerald ash borer does not infest standing structures like houses. It needs live flowing sap in the wood to survive and reproduce.
Now, to the meat of the issue. You have potentially EAB infested wood on your hands. Here’s my advice. Burn it. Burn it all, burn it now, and let the renter know exactly why you are doing this. Be safe with your bonfire or fireplace, of course, but burn it soon. The adult EABs, if they are in there, could emerge as early as the end of April. So burn it before those bugs can crawl out! Make sure to get all little bark scraps and other debris and burn that too.
If your renter brought the wood to your house from Berkshire County of Massachusetts, they have violated a quarantine and could be at risk for a major fine. The quarantine is in place because Berkshire county has a known infestation of EAB in the Pittsfield/Dalton area, and there could be other infestations in the area as well. If you feel reminding them of this quarantine will help them take you seriously to NEVER move firewood like this again, please feel free to kindly show them this informative link; https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/emerald-ash-borer
Today's winter storms across the eastern seaboard will likely bring down trees across the region- falling onto powerlines, into backyards, and across roads. Here at Don't Move Firewood, we'd like to remind you that once those trees are safely dealt with in the short term, there might be invasive pests in the remaining logs, branches, and even leaves for the long term.
Here are a few "Do's" for properly dealing with excess tree debris after a storm:
– Cut, stack, and dry the wood for firewood on the site in which it fell. There is nothing wrong with using firewood for home heating or outdoor enjoyment as long as you use it near where it fell.
– Inquire with your municipality if they will have a storm debris program, if you have too much to deal with on your own property. Sometimes there is free wood pickup by the city or county a few weeks after the immediate storm damage is dealt with.
– Giving away firewood to a nearby neighbor is generous and does not represent a significant pest hazard. Consider sharing it locally only.
– Treat all tree debris with care. Branches and leaves can also spread pests- never dump materials! Instead, use municipal services like large scale composting or landfills.
And here are the "Don'ts" for storm debris:
– Of course, don't get anywhere near wood that might be in contact with electrical wires. Wait for the authorities to ensure your safety!
– Don't later give away the wood at the side of the road. You might know not to move firewood- but not everybody does. Only share with local acquaintances.
– Don't take the wood with you for any camping trips, or take it to your cabin in the woods. Don't move firewood!
– Don't use tree care contractors without first checking out their credentials. Use the internet or call the city better business bureau to make sure they are in compliance with state and local wood disposal certifications.