Do Not Move Firewood
Why moving firewood is an extremely bad idea (and also against the law).
Tree-killing insects and illnesses can live in firewood. These insects and illnesses cannot move far on their very own, however, if individuals move firewood the insects are able to jump many hundreds of miles. New infestations destroy our forests, property values, and cost large amounts of money to control. Our local firewood is in constant danger.
How far is too far to relocate firewood?
We refer to local firewood as the closest convenient supply of wood which you can find. That may be from across the road, or a state forest inside your county. As a very general principle, 50 miles is too way too far to get wood and 10 miles or less is best. In many states you will find guidelines, regulations, and quarantines that clearly state how far is too far. Some states have laws about crossing state lines with firewood. This includes Kentuky and Indiana, where this article is being written. If you get caught the fines are in the thousands of dollars! Our State-by-state map can help you determine the guidelines.
My firewood has no bugs, holes, sawdust, or other creepy looking stuff on it. Is it OK to transport it?
No. Even the specialists cannot always see a few pin-head sized insect eggs, or perhaps a couple of microscopic fungus spores, inside a pile of wood. These tiny hazards are enough to eliminate an entire ecosystem. Never assume wood that "looks safe" is safe to move- it's almost impossible for anyone to inspect firewood that closely.
So what can I do with all of the fallen wood and brush from my property?
Firewood, brush, and debris from the trees and woods on your personal property poses no threat for the trees, or to anybody else's trees, so long as you do not move it very far. Allowing it to rot is totally fine. Chipping it to use as mulch below your shrubs is really a great idea. Burning it inside your stove or fire pit is enjoyable and practical. Even bringing it to a nearby landfill or composting facility is okay so long as the service center is in your town. The problem would be in the event you take it to your cabin a few counties away, or if you stack it on the roadside for strangers to pick up. That is what you want to avoid. Moving poses a risk to the trees in that new place.
Why are non-native insects and illnesses so a lot worse than the native ones?
Native trees have defenses against the insects and illnesses that they've been living with for millions of years. Likewise, native predators consume native insects and that keeps their numbers in check. Non-native insects and illnesses have no predators in their new homes, and also the trees have no natural defenses against them. Simply because these foreign bugs do not have something stopping them, they reproduce really fast and turn out to be out of control, killing trees in their wake. The emerald Ash borer is a perfect example.