Whether you are a flora lover or not, living in Northern America you would definitely notice how beautiful the streets get once the Ash tree leaves turn to yellow and purplish colour. They can be found in the streets and widely spread forests of the US and Canada.
Lately, ash trees have been threatened to be the thing of the past. Threats come from a little bug, known as an Emerald Ash Borer. It is an Asian-born beetle that kills Ash trees by cutting off the Nutrients and Water. Trees are dying from the inside out. The Time has come to wonder whether the Ash trees are going to repeat the history of American Chestnut.
Emerald Ash Borer was first noticed in 1990 in North America and since 2002 in the City of Guelph. Populations of these beetles are exploding and not even the cold weathers of Canada can hold them back. Without any natural predator and with a wide range of defenceless North-American trees, they are multiplying like rabbits.
“99% of the Ash trees in North America are probably going to die,” says Andrew M. Liebhold, a research entomologist, United States Forest Service. Some experts say that the situation is not that drastic, but emerald ash borers are definitely going to kill a large number of Ashes. Many of them mention several species that are in greater danger of extinction. Green, black, white, pumpkin and blue Ash trees are on this list.
Is There Any Hope?
Municipalities all over North America are spending millions of dollars on removing the Ash trees. As these diseased trees can easily drop down and fall on someone or damage a private property, they are beginning to pose serious concerns.
Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has strategies for treating Ash trees. Firstly, they will remove trees that pose a threat to public places. Cities, like Guelph, are already spending thousands of dollars on removing the trees. Ash trees that grow in the forest will be left alone to die on their own.
This strategy is backed up with the statistical information. Most of the forests contain other trees. Dying ash trees won’t cause the drastic changes in their flora. On the other hand, several forests are filled with ash trees, taking more than 30% of their density. These forests are set to be studied by experts. Ash tree death will be devastating for such forests and ecological integrity will suffer too.
Besides inevitable death, there is a way to treat ash trees. But it’ll cost at least $15 000 for one tree. There is an insecticide called TreeAzin that can treat ash trees. The treatments are extremely expensive and a long-term process. TreeAzin needs to be reapplied every year. Treatment requires to last at least 10 years and will cost millions of dollars for North America.
How Does the Future Look Like?
Emerald Ash Borer population is growing and the death of Ash trees seems to be closer by every year. Like every drastic extinction, this one will have an impact on our lives too.
After the death of every ash tree, a new ecosystem will be born in North American forests. The old ecosystem won’t do well in new conditions and many other flora members may disappear. Statistical information and research show that there are 43 native insects in NA that rely on ash trees. They need ashes for food or breeding. These insects are food for many native birds in NA, including woodpeckers. Make the ash trees go away, other members of the ecosystem will struggle to survive too.
However, Future still has a place for Ash trees in it. Maybe we’ll be able to contain these beauties and get rid of the emerald ash borer. After all, ash trees are a big part of the North American ecosystem.
If you suspect there may an infected ash tree on your property, call Martin's Tree Services. Our expert tree technicians will assess to the tree to determine the extent of the infestation. If possible, we can treat the tree before the infestation spreads further.