EAB – Chaos and creation?

Mon. Oct. 8, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  EAB – Chaos and creation?

You’ve heard me talk multiple times about Emerald Ash Borer, the bug that will destroy the vast majority of ash trees.  Notice I said, WILL.

EAB adult and larvae

The exotic beetle from Asia, was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002.  Since that time, it has been discovered in 33 states and 3 Canadian provinces.  EAB has killed over 8 billion  Ash trees and will continue.

Canopy die back due to EAB photo by Iowa Tree Pests

The only places where the trees have a better chance is where temperatures drop to 30 below zero.  White Ash, for now, is faring better than the green or black ash.   Some interesting information from the US Forest Service:  White ash is the primary commercial hardwood used in the production of baseball bats, tool handles, furniture, flooring, doors, cabinets, and other specialty products such as canoe paddles and boats.  Green ash is used for both solid wood applications (crating, boxes, and tool handles) and for fiber in the manufacture of high grade paper.  Black ash is typically used for interior furniture, cabinets, and Native Americans require this species for the art of basketry. 

Scientists are working on resistant strains, just as they have with Elm trees lost to Dutch Elm disease.  Article from The Daily news in Indiana where they’re raising funds to combat EAB.

photo by Troy McCormick – Indiana

In the meantime, how do we turn this into possibility?  In an article I just read in the Star Tribune, conservation groups that work in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area are using this disaster to possibly help thwart another, climate change.

By replacing ash with other kinds of trees, as well as bushes and other plants they hope to establish a forest that is more likely to thrive in a future of higher average temperatures and much more erratic precipitation. They’re using Bur Oak and Kentucky Coffee trees, both more tolerant of higher temperatures and moist soil.

Kentucky Coffee tree

Cities across the States are creating their own management plans that include being proactive and cutting down the Ash trees that, while maybe not infected yet, are not worth saving, such as young trees.  Also, if entire boulevards are planted with only Ash trees.  Others they may use chemicals on.

If the Ash has lost 50% of it’s canopy due to EAB, it’s not worth using chemical treatments.  I have a comprehensive Fact Sheet on insecticide options.