Tree-debris and Emerald Ash Borers make for cautious cleanup

Ohio residents urged to take caution when cleaning potentially contaminated debris following windstorm.

by Dani Yokhna

Take care when cleaning up ash and other tree debris
Blue Ash Tree Leaf

help slow the spread of the emerald ash borer
Emerald Ash Borer

Photos courtesy Ohio Department of Agriculture and the

Careless windstorm tree debris clean-up and the Emerald Ash Borer don’t mix.

To make sure the dangerous insect doesn’t spread further in the state, the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources have asked Ohio residents to take care when clearing debris caused by the recent windstorm.

The Emerald Ash Borer or EAB, as it’s commonly known, was first seen in the United States about 10 to 15 years ago. It’s a wood-boring beetle from Asia that can kill ash trees in 3 to 5 years.

Adult beetles eat ash foliage, causing little damage–but the EAB larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.

The agriculture department has placed 43 Ohio counties under quarantine to help slow and prevent the spread, including: Allen, Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Delaware, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Ottawa, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, Warren, Wayne, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties.

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The most up-to-date quarantine map is found at the Ohio Department of Agriculture website.

Other states battling the Emerald Ash Borer include Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. More information

Under the quarentine, it’s illegal to move ash trees and parts of an ash tree, as well as all hardwood firewood out of Ohio’s quarantined areas.

The state fines violators up to $4,000; additional federal fines may also apply.

How Do I Safely Clean Up My Debris?
Here are the guidelines you must follow when cleaning up tree debris, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture:

  1. All ash wood debris must stay inside the limits of the quarantine unless chipped to a size of less than 1 inch in diameter and length. 
  2. There are several locations, including yard waste recycling facilities and firewood dealers, within quarantined areas where hardwood firewood may be disposed. 
  3. All hardwood debris chips, smaller than 1 inch in diameter and length, and non-ash hardwood logs, longer than 4 feet, may travel outside the quarantined area for disposal. Ash logs may be moved with a compliance agreement in the EAB non-flight season, Oct. 1 – April 1. 
  4. Businesses and industries using hardwood materials must first apply for a compliance agreement through the Ohio Department of Agriculture to move or accept ash trees, parts of an ash tree, or hardwood firewood from quarantined areas. Here is a list of compliant companies.

For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s EAB office or call 888-OHIO-EAB.

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