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.