Monday, April 8, 2013

Slowing the Spread of Emerald Ash Borer

Post contributed by Meredith of Youth Outdoors Crew 1:

Conservation Corps crew
removing green ash trees

                This past week the Youth Outdoors leaders and crew members have been working diligently on removing and abating growth of green ash trees in Saint Paul’s parks.  The work this week has been focused primarily at Round Lake which is adjacent to Lake Phalen.  The week started with our adult crew members felling green ash trees for our youth to pile into five giant brush piles along the east shore of Round Lake.  Our work felling and hauling ash trees resulted in a great educational opportunity for our Youth on the importance and implications of managing for the Emerald Ash Borer (or EAB) through removing ash trees in our local parks.
                We discussed that a “boring” insect, such as the EAB (which is, actually very interesting), can compromise the health and natural defenses of a tree.  The presence of EAB, whose larvae live and develop under the bark of Ash trees, reduces a tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients through its vascular system. This compromises the overall health of the tree and makes it more susceptible to disease.  Some symptoms of EAB such as “D” shaped holes in the bark and increased wood-pecker activity were mentioned. More information about identifying trees infested with EAB can be found here
We also discussed the importance of removing healthy trees in order to prevent the spread of EAB.  EAB continues to march outward from its initial appearance in Michigan in 2002 and was found in Saint Paul Parks in 2009.  By removing the host species, or Ash trees, of the Emerald Ash Borer, we can attempt to stop the pest in its tracks.  Information about nationwide spread and management of EAB can be found here. In addition to the Saint Paul’s effort to stop EAB, here are some steps the public can take to help save our Ash trees:
                The week was an excellent reminder for both the youth and adult members of the Youth Outdoors program of why we work so hard cutting and hauling tons upon tons of logs and brush.  It was rewarding to see our hours of hard work in neat piles at the end of the week, ready to be hauled off and burned as biofuels in Saint Paul’s downtown power plant.