ISU takes steps against emerald ash borer
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:09
Grounds Maintenance is already taking precautions to lessen the damage made by a tiny, invasive beetle which destroys ash trees.
The emerald ash borer, native to Asia but also present in the U.S., is spreading through parts of Indiana. It could arrive in Terre Haute within two years, said landscape and grounds manager Stephanie Krull.
A variety of native shade trees have been planted to replace some ash trees, and pesticides are being used as a preventative measure.
"I am a realist and don't like to use chemicals for many trees," Krull said. "We are going with a replacement program alternative system, but we will save them for as long as we can."
According to a 2010 inventory, there were just over 400 ash trees on campus. Twenty trees have been removed in the last year.
The insects are about half an inch long with flattened backs and only attack blue, green and white ash trees.
Symptoms of an infected ash tree can be easily inspected. The canopy of the tree will begin to die and will progress down the tree until it is bare, according to emeraldashborer.info, a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and various universities. Further damage can be inflicted by woodpeckers, which eat the bugs.
"You can tell that the tree is infected by the D-shaped exit hole in the bark," Krull said. "You can also tell by the tunnels inside the tree that they make, which cuts the tree off from nutrients; suffocating it," Krull said.
An informational session about the emerald ash borer is scheduled for noon Thursday in the floriculture building at the Vigo County Fairgrounds.