Moving firewood can spread invasive insects and diseases that can kill native trees, destroying our forests and home landscapes and reducing property values. Monitoring, managing and controlling invasive species is expensive. In Nevada we are on the watch for Asian longhorned beetle, banded elm bark beetle, emerald ash borer, goldspotted oak borer, laurel wilt ambrosia beetle, oak splendor beetle, pine shoot beetle, red-haired pine bark beetle, Sirex wood wasp and walnut twig beetle.
Non-native insects and diseases are worse than native ones. Native trees evolve with local insects and diseases and native predators and defense mechanisms to keep these pests in check. When a non-native insect or disease is introduced, there rarely is a natural enemy or defense system, which allows non-native insects and diseases to reproduce quickly and outcompete native species.
New infestations of tree-killing insects and diseases often are first found in campgrounds and parks, because people accidentally spread invasive species when they bring in firewood. Leave firewood at home and buy new wood near where you'll burn it. Protect the places you love by not moving firewood.
Although you may not see evidence of pests in firewood, tiny insect eggs or microscopic disease spores may be there. Never assume that wood that looks OK is safe to move. Wood that is cured and dry isn't necessarily safe either. The shorter the distance you move firewood, the better. Definitely keep the distance under 50 miles. When you have wood or brush from your property, chip it, burn it or haul it to a landfill.
If you have firewood that has traveled a distance, burn it quickly and completely. This will reduce the risk to live trees. Be sure to rake up any dropped leaves, bark, twigs or other wood debris and burn it as well.
The state of Nevada does not routinely inspect firewood, but will enforce quarantines that cover firewood coming from infested areas. The following is a sample of a federal quarantine for Asian longhorned beetle rarticles: firewood (all hardwood species), green lumber and other material living, dead, cut or fallen (inclusive of nursery stock), logs, stumps, roots, branches and debris of a half an inch or more in diameter of the following: maple, horse chestnut, birch, hackberry, ash, sycamore, poplar/aspen, willow, mountain ash and elm.
To reduce the threat of introducing invasive species on firewood, buy it where you burn it. Ask your wood sellers where they obtained their wood - if it isn't from within 50 miles or they don't know - don't buy it.
From: dontmovefirewood.org. Please visit this website for more information and photographs of invasive species.
• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at email@example.com or 887-2252.