Emerald Ash Borer
Most Serious Forest Health Issue facing Ohio’s Forests Today.
If not stopped here and now, it will spread across the Midwest and though our nations hardwood forests, killing off ash as a managed species. The loss of ash would have a dramatic ecological and economical impact.
Ohio property owners alone face a $1 billion price tag to remove dead or dying ash trees from their property, and that number is comparably small to the loss of an entire species.
EAB was discovered in Michigan in July, 2002. EAB is a non-native insect pest of ash trees in the U.S. In February of 2003, it was first found feeding on ash trees in northwest Ohio. The insect is a beetle from Asia and is part of a group known as metallic wood-boring beetles.
EAB affects all species of native ash found in Ohio. EAB larvae feed on the living portion of the tree, directly beneath the bark. This eating habit restricts the trees ability to move essential water and nutrients throughout. In three to five years, even the healthiest tree is unable to survive this attack.
This pest can be difficult to identify because the symptoms infested ash trees exhibit are much like the symptoms of a native ash borers. The main symptoms of an EAB infested tree are branch die back, sprouting around the base of the tree, and unusual woodpecker activity. While the symptoms of EAB are like native ash borers the signs are very unique. The main signs are 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes and if the bark is peeled back, a serpentine pattern packed with sawdust will be seen.
In Ohio, as of September 8, 2010, the entire state has been quarantined. To see a quarantine map, click here.
The impact of EAB is being felt both environmentally and economically. Approximately one in every ten trees in Ohio is an ash, and is a very important part of the forest type ash-elm-cottonwood, which covers parts of northwest Ohio. The loss of this species will create a large void in an already fragile ecosystem.
The potential economic impact of EAB to Ohio citizens over the next ten years could possibly reach $3 billion. This amount includes the estimated impact on property owners having to remove damaged/dead trees from their yards (about $1 billion), and from the loss of ash as a managed species for Ohio’s forest industry (about $2 billion). That figure does not include the incalculable value of ash as an important ecological component of Ohio’s diverse hardwood forest.
What is the Division of Forestry doing?
Landowners can work with the Service Forester in their area. Whether the land is located in one of the ODA quarantine areas or if you are just concerned about your woodlot, a Service Forester will come out to your property and discuss forest management options (pdf) to meet your goals for your woodlot.