Reclaiming Lumber Damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer

Reclaiming Lumber Damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer

In the wake of the death and destruction of millions of trees, we are left with more lumber than we know what to do with.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is our foe as tree lovers. This tiny bug, no bigger than a nickel, is killing our Ash trees at an astonishing rate. There are a few things we can do to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. Also, identifying the best use of the lumber is important too.

Our global economy is lovely in that we can have pretty much anything in the world with a moments notice. The dark side to this accessibility to goods includes many ecological tragedies involving invasive species like the EAB. The EAB has come to our country via shipping materials from Asia. They have spread almost like wildfire through our national forests, city trees, and rural woods. The eggs are laid on the bark of the tree, and then the larvae bore into the bark where it feasts upon the lifeline of the tree, the phloem and cambium. The larvae are what actually kill the tree by stopping the flow of water and nutrients.



Raising awareness of EAB is the first thing we can do to stop the blight. You can identify EAB by looking for ‘D’ shaped holes on the bark of your Ash trees. These bugs are only interested in Ash trees. If your Ash tree doesn’t look healthy, EAB could be the culprit. If there are a lot of woodpecker holes on your Ash, it could be because the woodpeckers like the tasty larvae.

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In my attempt to alert folks to this problem, I made a bench out of reclaimed Ash in the shape of a pew with the trails from the EAB larvae highlighted with white milk paint. My intention was to highlight this problem and provide a sacred-like space where viewers could contemplate the issue at hand.



A somewhat obvious step to slow the spread of EAB is to not move firewood from place to place. In many states, it is in fact illegal to move Ash from county to county. If you think your tree is infested with EAB, first verify that it is EAB. Then call your county extension office to report it.

In central Indiana, where I live, ash trees are being removed at such a rapid rate the arborists and tree removal crews are chipping a lot of good lumber just because there is so much of it. Ash is a lovely wood to work with, and there are options for what to do with your lumber.

For more information on wood use options, identifying EAB, and much more go to:


Kimberly McNeelan has been a woodworker for about 14 years. She’s been coast to coast and beyond studying different woodworking techniques, learning from various masters, and working on a wide array of projects. Read more of Kimberly’s latest adventures.

Follow Kimberly on Instagram at ksm_woodworker

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