Ash borer update

Gina, who’s been working on the emerald ash borer problem in Indiana for a few years, left such a helpful response on my original EAB post that I thought I’d repost it here so more folks would see it. Thanks, Gina! There is some very hopeful news here!

I have worked with the dreaded EAB for many years in IN. First, eradication (tree removal) is no longer practiced in most states (although I can’t speak for all as they are continuing the practice in Maryland for one), mainly due to cost. Many of us biologists working on the program said the very same about natural resistance and it is believed by some to eventually reach a peak and the trees left standing (so-to-speak) will start to pass those resistant traits along to their offspring. As an aside, ash trees in China are resistant. Scientists planted American ash trees over there and the insect attacked the trees readily, killing them 100%.

I love the idea of coppicing ash trees. Ash trees are prolific at sending up epicormic shoots. It is a very good firewood (one of the best and it does burn green easily). Unfortunately, EAB does indeed attack young trees (generally above 1-2″ inches in diameter or the size of an adult thumb); I’ve seen very small trees infested with EAB larvae (the life stage that does the damage). However, in areas of heavy infestation (like MI, OH, or IN), this may be an excellent way of preserving the tree (as you said) until preventative measures catch-up. They have imported a parasitic wasp and are doing experiments in MI and a new chemical is going to be on the market soon (reported to be 99% effective against EAB; however I have no idea how environmentally friendly it is).

Sadly, black ash (one of the major species in the Great Lake region) is used by the Potawatomi’s for making baskets. It is a tradition that is already endangered and now their material source is severely threatened. Your coppicing idea may be good for them as well!!!

Thank you!

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