Chesterton Tribune



DNR working to save big trees from ash borer by chemical treatment

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At least some ash trees in Indiana will survive the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) invasion if a DNR initiative is successful, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced on Wednesday.

The DNR is using chemical treatments to protect large specimens of ash trees so far unaffected by EAB at Turkey Run State Park and in several of the DNR’s nature preserves.

“We are hoping to save these awe inspiring monarchs of the forest for everyone to continue to enjoy,” said John Bacone, director of DNR Division of Nature Preserves.

Candidate trees were identified and tagged by Nature Preserves staff, and treatments will take place this spring. At least a few specimens of all ash species found in Indiana will be included in the project, the DNR said: white, black, blue, green and pumpkin ash.

“EAB is a non-native insect that has killed almost all mature ash trees in the northern two-thirds of Indiana,” the DNR noted. “The invasion is advancing south. Without intervention, all ash trees in the state will likely die.”

But saving ashes from EAB “will require commitment,” DNR added. “They must be treated every two to three years. Once the EAB ‘killing wave’ passes through--and most ash trees are gone--treatments may not need to be as frequent.”

There are several good reasons for trying to save at least some of the large ash trees, said Phil Marshall, forest pest specialist with DNR divisions of Forestry and Entomology & Plant Pathology. “One of the most important is that female ash trees that are saved can serve as a seed source for EAB-resistant ash breeding efforts. Some hope that breeding efforts, combined with potential developments to keep EAB populations in check, may lead to the re-establishment of ash trees throughout its range.”

For some, though, the chance to see these large trees in years to come is reason enough, Bacone said. “The big ash trees that one sees when walking the trails at Turkey Run State Park and Big Walnut Nature Preserve are inspiring, and we hope we can help them remain there going forward.”



Posted 4/13/2017




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