Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Emerald Ash Borer Strikes Farnsworth Drive

It was a long time coming, but this Spring the old ash tree in front of my parents' house was officially dead. Yesterday it was cut down. 

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect from Asia introduced to the United States in the 1990's on accident, most likely arriving via overseas shipping containers delivered to Michigan. It quickly spread, and now nearly the entire ash population (it targets not one species, but the entire Fraxinus genus) in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois are standing dead, waiting for the chainsaw. In our case, the chainsaw came yesterday. Because many cities have high ash populations (they are very adaptable to urban stress and poor planting conditions), the urban canopy of many cities will be affected. In Minneapolis, MN, for example, ash trees represent a little more than 20% of the urban canopy. In Fort Wayne the percentage of ash trees in the urban canopy is 23%. All across the city mature trees are dead or dying, leaving established neighborhoods looking rather bare.

All that's left of the 50+ year old ash tree in front of my parents' house. The city has begun planting new trees around the neighborhood, but with this drought, I really think they should hold off. I counted four dead ones on my parents' street alone.

I already told my dad that perhaps we need to plant a Sugar Maple in the front yard. I really think it would be pretty in the fall...and we are running out of room in the back yard...

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