Q. Is ash borer still a problem in our area? Is there any research going on relating to this problem?
William from Lowellville
A. The Emerald Ash borer came to our area shortly after its arrival in Ohio in 2003. Native to Asia, the ash species there are more resistant to the borer. But our native trees here in North America are very susceptible to death from borer activity.
The larvae of the borer feed on the conductive tissues of ash trees, the functional xylem just under the bark. Ash trees are not ring porous trees, thus this feeding destroys the trees’ transpiration stream and kills the tree quickly. All species of ash trees in North America are susceptible to damage from this borer.
What can you do to stop the spread? Nothing. This insect is a good flyer and a good hitchhiker. It spreads quickly, beyond any of our attempts to slow the spread over the past 15-plus years.
The problem now is dealing with dying trees that pose hazards. Dead ash trees have little resistance to rot. So they are attacked quickly by fungi, and the trunk tends to “snap” a few feet above the ground due to storms or other factors. Thus, homeowners should pay attention to these dead and dying ash trees.
It is best to hire an arborist – a tree surgeon – to inspect the tree.
Our Ohio State University experts encourage people to watch for these dead trees on hiking trails and in woodlots.
When it comes to research, there has been lots of work across the country to try to save our ash species, as they are a large percentage of our forests here in Ohio.
Read more about the research and watch webinars at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/eabu.php.
To learn more about this invasive insect and its impact in North America, including webinars to learn about these issues, go to http://emeraldashborer.info.
To learn more about the dangers of dead, dying ash trees and to learn more about hiring an arborist, go to http://go.osu.edu/beware.
Eric Barrett is OSU Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Mahoning County. Call 330-533-5538 to submit your questions. Regular clinic hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays.