Emerald ash borer outbreak could affect many
... in possibly
By Dayle Davis
GREATER AKRON — By now most people have heard some sort of alarm about our ash trees in Ohio.
To some, the threat has seemed distant and not really worthy of personal attention. But now is the time — if you haven’t already — to sit up and take notice of the emerald ash borer (EAB).
This is serious, folks.
When you consider that 60 percent of the trees in Ohio are ash, a statewide infestation of the EAB would be devastating. Area forests would not recover in our lifetimes. In my own back yard, nine full-size ash are at risk. How many ash trees shade your and neighboring yards?
The EAB designation belongs to a group of metallic green, wood-boring beetles. Adults are dark green, half an inch in length and an eighth of an inch wide and fly only from early May until September. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees, and when they emerge as adults, leave D-shaped exit holes in the bark about an eighth of an inch wide.
Ash trees infested with EAB typically die within two to five years, from the top down.
Since the EAB was first discovered in Ohio in 2003, it has now been identified in 21 counties: Auglaize, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Defiance, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Miami, Sandusky, Seneca, Ottawa, Warren, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties.
All or parts of these counties have been quarantined by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to stop the movement of firewood and ash logs, which are the largest contributors to the spread of EAB.
The quarantine helps to halt the movement of ash tree material and all hardwood firewood out of areas where the ash tree-killing insect is discovered.
The ODA officials, while examining detection trees across the state, recently discovered an infested ash tree on Kelleys Island, Middle Bass Island, in Thompson Township in Seneca County, in Warren County and near the intersection of Interstates 71 and 480 in the Cleveland area.
As a result, Erie, Cuyahoga, Seneca, Ottawa and Warren counties are now entirely quarantined to stop the spread of the pest through potentially infested materials. It is illegal to move ash trees, parts of an ash tree and all hardwood firewood out of quarantined areas.
According to ODA Director Fred Dailey, the EAB has moved to these areas with human help, and now “we need to step up to the plate to help slow its spread and protect our ash trees by not moving firewood.”
Currently, department officials are inspecting statewide detection trees — ash trees that have been stressed by removing a ring of bark — to look for EAB populations resulting from the movement of firewood or ash tree materials. The survey should be completed around the beginning of next year.
At that point, the statewide picture will be assessed to see if any limited, targeted tree cutting might be used to help slow the spread of EAB.
In the meantime, newly discovered areas of infestation will be quarantined to stop the artificial spread of EAB through ash tree materials and firewood. Citizens can freely move hardwood firewood and ash trees within quarantined counties and contiguously quarantined areas, but cannot take these potentially infested materials out. Violators face fines up to $4,000.
Firewood dealers, businesses or wood lot owners transporting ash trees or firewood out of quarantined areas can do so only with a department-approved compliance agreement. These agreements stipulate handling practices that mitigate the spread of EAB. Contact the department at (888) OHIO-EAB for compliance information.
For more information on EAB or for the latest quarantine map, visit www.ohioagri culture.gov/eab or call the OSU Summit County Hotline Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at (330) 928-4769, ext. 3.
Dayle Davis is a freelance writer and avid perennial gardener, with a B.A. in communications and course work in botany, geology and wildflowers. Davis is certified as a Master Gardener under The Ohio State University’s Horticultural Extension.
The author may lose nine full-size trees from her back yard if the emerald ash borer invades Summit County. Photo: Dayle Davis