IN THE GARDEN: Certain types of firewood can be detrimental

Posted: Nov. 29, 2012 10:54 am Updated: Dec. 27, 2012 2:15 pm


As the nights become colder, nothing says winter like a fire in the fireplace. But be careful because choices for wood can have a detrimental effect.

Firewood should be bought from local sources, usually within 10 to 50 miles of where it is produced and stored outdoors, shielded from rain. A tarp or an open shed prevents wood from becoming damp and invaded by wood-decaying fungi. Bring firewood inside a few days before use to avoid bringing unwanted insects into the home."

Sometimes carpenter ants can be found on firewood. In addition to ants, beetles can be found on firewood. They usually will not cause any damage to the home or need to be treated. If you find sawdust in the wood, it is likely caused by a beetle larva.

Insects found in wood rarely result in problems in homes but movement of firewood over distances can spread infestations of insects that kill trees in the landscape and forests. Many states have quarantines against moving firewood across state or even county lines.

Emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle are two that can cause serious damage to urban and natural forests. These pests and many others disperse through multiple pathways including movement of nursery stock and firewood.

Be careful during firewood season to preserve our natural habitat and heritage in our forests.