The invasive bug know as an Emerald Ash Borer is expected to wipe out 4-6 Billion trees in the next 2 decades, but there are ways to keep it from killing off all the Ash trees. ISA Certified Arborist Terry Hawkridge says there’s a natural insect that kills off the grub inside the tree, but introducing it to America isn’t an easy answer.
"If they brought it here, and they got it going in this community, it could be that these community trees could be saved, but someone’s going to move firewood up to a campsite, and away it goes."
Moving firewood outside a 50 mile radius is illegal because the bug goes with the firewood. The spread of the bug is well documented along roadsides and travel routes, but there’s other ways to keep the bug at bay. Trees can be chemically treated with a soil drench that gets absorbed through the roots of a tree, sprayed directly on the bark, or drill a plug into the base of the tree treating beneath the bark.
"You can chemically treat your tree and save it, or you can cut it down and head off what’s going to happen."
Hawkridge advises talking to a tree specialist before attempting to take an Ash tree down yourself, as the bug cuts off the water and nutrients to the tree making it brittle and potentially dangerous.
"There’s people that have been trying to take them down themselves where they don’t fall correctly, and it falls back on the people cutting em’ down. There’s people that’ve been climbing them that holds on to a limb maybe 4 inches in diameter that lets go where usually you could stand up and do a dance on it."
The DEC has been providing urban and community forestry grants to help pay for inventorying Ash trees. Oneida County Soil & Water Conservation District Forester Jessica Pydra explains how helpful it is once the Ash trees are identified throughout a community.
"They actually have grants to pay for maintenance, tree removal, tree planting, but you have to have an inventory to begin it with, which is finding out what you have."
If anyone is not sure if they have an ash tree, they can send a picture of the whole tree and a photo of the bark and leaves to anyone of the following:
email@example.com- District Forester -Oneida County Soil & Water Conservation District
firstname.lastname@example.org - Holly Wise - Consumer Horticulture Resource Educator-Cornell Cooperative Extension
email@example.com- Linda Wimmer - Master Gardener-Cornell Cooperative Extension