I have an ash tree, in Hennepin county, I will be taking down this coming...

Asked February 25, 2015, 6:43 PM EST

I have an ash tree, in Hennepin county, I will be taking down this coming week. I don't think it has EAB but thought I'd be proactive and take it down before it dies. Is it ok to keep the wood at my home for firewood or will it become a nice location for nesting future E A B insects. Are they attracted to wood piles

Hennepin County Minnesota emerald ash borer firewood management

1 Response

Thank you for the question. It sounds like you have already made the decision to remove your tree but I have a few observations. At the risk of sounding silly, make sure your tree is an ash tree. Emerald Ash Borer only affects green, black, and white ash trees. Mountain ash trees are not true ash and are not vulnerable to this pest. Here is a link to ash tree identification from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/Global/MDADocs/pestsplants/eab/ashtreeid.aspx

My second thought is: If your ash tree is healthy, low maintenance and you like it, why remove it? Healthy ash trees can be treated to promote resistance to EAB. On the other hand, you could have a problem if you are seeing canopy die back, tiny D-shaped exit holes in the bark, woodpecker holes, bark cracks, or S-shaped curvy markings under the bark. This Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a good guide on how to decide if your tree has been attacked by EAB: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/~/media/Files/plants/eab/eab-treeshaveit.pdf

If you do decide to remove your tree, it is OK to keep the wood on your property and use it for firewood. Under no circumstance should you transport the firewood elsewhere on the outside chance that it is infested with the borer. Humans moving firewood is the main reason EAB is spreading so fast. There won't be future EAB infestation of your cut wood because they don't colonize dead wood. There is no food supply. The larva kill ash trees by feeding on the inner bark of the trees where the nutrients flow from the roots to leaves and leaves to roots. This food supply is interrupted once the tree is cut down and it stops growing. Adult EAB will feed on ash tree leaves but there will be no growth of leaves for the same reason. The insect will be attracted to live ash elsewhere, not your woodpile.

To learn more about EAB and what you can do to protect your tree should you decide to keep it, please read this University of Minnesota publication all about EAB: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/emerald-ash-borer/about/ Scroll down to the section "Should I Treat my Ash"?

Thank you for contacting Extension.