State to destroy ash trees to kill borer

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture will remove ash trees on five quarantined properties in an effort to eradicate the emerald ash borer from Ohio.

The property owners notified live on the 5100 block of Berkey-Southern Road, near Whitehouse in Lucas County.

Other property owners farther from the infestation were notified that their trees will be treated with an insecticide that is effective only in preventing new infestations of the emerald ash borer.

The spread of the invasive ash tree pest was confirmed on these Swanton Township properties last month.

Death sentence. “An infestation within a quarter mile of an otherwise healthy ash tree is a virtual death sentence for that tree. That’s how destructive this pest is,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey.

The state will pay the cost of cutting these trees.

In addition, 21 properties on Berkey-Southern Road, Reed Road, and Oak River Road will have ash trees removed.

About half of the properties in the near vicinity have no ash trees.

In all, about 3,000 ash trees, most of which are saplings, have been targeted for removal

There is no practical insecticide treatment for trees already infested or trees a short distance from the infestation, which may be infested but not yet show signs of damage.

Wood-boring beetle. Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive species from Asia that belongs to a group of insects known as metallic wood-boring beetles. Adults are dark metallic green in color, 1/2 inch in length and 1/16 inch wide, and are present from mid-May until late July.

Larvae are creamy white in color and invade and damage the tree the rest of the year. It will typically kill an ash tree within three years.

Symptoms. Trees on all of the Lucas County properties showed symptoms of infestation by this pest – die-back on the upper third of the tree, D-shaped exit holes in the bark where adults emerge, vertical splits in the bark, and distinct serpentine-shaped tunnels beneath the bark in the cambium, where larvae effectively cut off food and water to the tree, starving it to death.

The borer is known to affect white, black, and green ash trees and all varieties of horticultural ash. 

The emerald ash borer is thought to have existed in North America for about the last five years. Its first confirmation came last summer in Michigan, where it is estimated to have destroyed over a million ash trees to date.

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