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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Emerald Ash Borer

For my faithful readers, I am sorry to be repeating myself with this post, but I feel that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is worth another mention.  

At the Native Plants in the Landscape Conference, some discussion came up about the American Chestnut, Castanea dentata, which was at one time the predominant species in any forest.  This tree has now been replaced by oaks and hickories as it was nearly eradicated by a blight.  One estimate has over FOUR BILLION trees lost during the infection.  The loss of the trees also contributed to the loss of at least six known insect specialists. Insect specialists are insects that only feed on one genus of plants, and sometimes only on species within that genus.   If you are interested in further information about the American Chestnut, go to the American Chestnut Cooperator Foundation website: All of this talk of disease and plant death brings us to the Emerald Ash Borer.  

While you may be fearful that your ash trees will die from the insect, it is important to not remove the trees to "prevent them from being killed" because sometimes nature has a way of dealing with some of her enemies, and perhaps the tree will develop some type of resistance to the Emerald Ash Borer.  This does not mean that the insect is not a problem, it just means that perhaps instead of losing millions of trees to the insect and then cutting down the remaining thousands, we may want to consider leaving the remaining trees to see if they can develop resistance to the Emerald Ash Borer.

I had mentioned that the EAB has been spotted in Bucks County, and recently a press release indicated that the bug has now been found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

Just a reminder: DO NOT TRANSPORT ANY FIREWOOD WHEN YOU ARE GOING ON A CAMPING TRIP.  No matter what you think about the wood not having insects, or being "safe" there is a great chance that you will be spreading disease or insects like the Emerald Ash Borer to a county that currently does not have the EAB.  Here is the link to the DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) page about EAB: 

The pdf on the page has useful contact information . Note that the map showing the spread of EAB is NOT up-t0-date.  Bucks County should be on the list of quarantined counties.

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