Saturday, December 14, 2013

Joining Hands for a Better World: 12.14.13

On December 3, I set out on a pre-Christmas challenge — to post a tip a day we can collectively follow with the goal of making the world a better place. 

Today’s suggestion: Don’t Move Firewood

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire may sound like a grand idea, especially on a frigid day like today with snow blanketing the streets, and forcing changes to holiday shopping and partying plans. Here in New England it's a good day to stay close to home.

But be warned about where you get the wood for your fire. This beautiful little beetle picture below is a harmful invader from Asia. It is the Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis, (EAB), and it is wreaking havoc on America’s ash trees. Since it was discovered near Detroit, Michigan in 2002, the EAB has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees from Colorado to Connecticut, and from Quebec to Texas. EAB has been identified in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and 22 US states, including Connecticut, where it has been officially documented in four counties.
How the EAB arrived in the US, and how it spread so quickly is most likely through transportation of wood — originally on solid wood packing material and now on infested nursery stock and logs sold as firewood.

There  are quarantines and fines in place to prevent potentially infested wood from moving out of areas where the ash borer has been detected. It is against the law to transport wood out of Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, and New Haven counties in Connecticut. 

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to move wood even if EAB has not yet been discovered in the area. EAB is in residence long before its presence is noted, usually by its tell-tale galleries discovered in weakened trees. 

Why take a chance? 

I bet this is not the holiday tip you expected. But the danger is a real one, and as a tree-lover and gardener, I take and make any opportunity I can to spread the word about this invasive species.

Please, do your bit and only use firewood of the hyper-local variety. 

That’s it for today. “See you tomorrow.”

“All together now,” as the Beatles once sang. Let’s see how much good we can do over the next few weeks.

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