Coping with the spread of a deadly tree pest
Every time I do a news search for "trees, there are several stories about the spread of the emerald ash borer.
A sampling of recent news:
- Emerald ash borer continues to spread -- This column by Jim Ramsey in the Wilmington [OH] News Journal states that the ash borer has now been detected in 37 Ohio counties. Substantial fines have been legislated to prevent people from spreading the insect by transporting firewood out of those counties. Ramsey states that there are 4 to 5 billion ash trees in Ohio. All of them are at risk of death from the borer. A preview of the staggering costs -- the removal of 7000 infected ash trees cost Toledo, OH, over $3 million. According to Ramsey, Michigan entymologists have a "first dose" of parasitic wasps ready to release if given the OK.
- Atlantic (Iowa) bans ash trees as bug threatens -- The city of Atlantic, Iowa, has prohibited the planting of ash trees on public ground, though private landowners can still plant the tree. Through this ordinance city hopes to limit the public cost of removing ash trees if/when the ash borer arrives there. The article also mentions that the Nebraska Forest Service no longer recommends planting ash trees.
- Trees killed by ash borer live on -- John Seewer of the Chicago Sun Times reports that the lumber of the infected trees removed in Toledo is being put to use. It has been cut into lumber and flooring, and it's also being used for baseball bats. To avoid transporting the insect, the wood must be kiln-dried or fumigated locally before it is transported. This article reminds me of the bedroom furniture my parents bought in the late 60s or early 70s; it was made of "distressed elm" (that is, elm that had died from Dutch elm disease.)
- City proposes cutting trees to fight bug -- Urban foresters of Columbus, OH, have recommended that the city begin the process of removing and replacing its ash trees, even though the borer has apparently not arrived there yet. The estimated cost for approximately 12,000 city-owned ash trees: $6 million which would be spread out over 10 years.