Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Don't transport firewood.

Use firewood in the area where it was cut.


When you head for the lake or escape to the woods this summer, don't take firewood with you. And when you start home again, don't bring firewood back with you.

Forestry departments across the continent are begging campers and homeowners to avoid transporting firewood out of the area where it was cut. To help spread the word, the USDA Forestry Department has a poster that can be downloaded as a pdf file. (Thumbnail appears at right.)

Transporting firewood is a perfect way to carry tree diseases and pests to new places. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources points out, "Insect pests spread at a rate of about 0.5 to 2 miles per year on their own. When they are carried on firewood, their spread rate jumps to 55 miles per hour."

Here's a short list of some killer tree problems that are known to spread through firewood:

  • Pine pitch canker
  • Oak wilt
  • Gypsy moth
  • Sirex wood wasp
  • Dutch elm disease
  • Emerald ash borer
  • Various other borers
  • Sudden oak death
  • Beech bark disease
  • Asian longhorn beetle
  • Various fungi and rots

Buy firewood that was grown as near as possible to the place where you will burn it, or better yet, look around for dry dead wood on the ground that you can burn. If you do buy firewood, don't buy more than you can burn, and be sure to burn all that you buy. And please help spread the message to others who aren't as well-informed as you are.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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