To The Daily Sun,
We all know ash makes great firewood, and in light of the spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB) continuing to increase its range here in New Hampshire, we may have a lot more sooner than we would like. Recently Belknap County was added to the quarantine list since the adult bug was found in both in Belmont and Gilmanton EAB monitoring traps. If you are an ash tree owner in the quarantine area and this hasn't raised any red flags for you yet, it should.
In Concord where EAB was first discovered in 2013, EAB is already killing trees along the streets and in people's yards. This will continue as the population of EAB steadily grows and the destructive larvae decimate the conductive tissue in the trees. This will eventually happen as the insect population builds seeking out new victims. All ash, white, green and black are susceptible to the insect We have learned from other infested states that once an area has EAB it takes about seven years for nearly all ash to die without some sort of intervention.
In Detroit where the insect was first discovered in 2002 they have seen 99 percent mortality.
This will cost homeowners, businesses, and communities thousands of dollars in tree removals.
So what is one to do? Throw up their hands and wait for the inevitable? No, there are options and opportunities to plan ahead as well as intervention to treat highly valued landscape ash for the insect before it's too late. Planning ahead could mean planting another species near your ash tree to eventually take its place, or contacting a reputable tree care company to assess the tree.
They will be able to provide an estimate of cost to treat the tree with a pesticide, or possibly remove it. Treated ash trees can theoretically last as long as the treatment continues, but may succumb at some point. The decision to treat or not to treat can be used to extend the survival of the tree in order to spread out the inevitable removal. A high value landscape ash tree may be well worth the effort to protect it.
Communities and property managers should start assessing their landscape trees now. The loss will make a sudden impact in many communities leaving everyone pointing fingers and looking for money to address the problem. Taking the time to explore your options early will allow you to have some control over the demise of your tree as well as your tree removal budget. Purdue University has an online cost calculator that can be found at this site www.extension.entm.purdue.edu/treecomputer/ which estimates the cost of removal base d on the size of the tree. Be proactive, it is not too early to start evaluating your options and planning ahead. For further information and resources please visit www.nhbugs.org
Scott K. Rolfe, Community Forester
N.H. Division of Forests and Lands
Planning and Community Forestry Bureau
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