This week is Emerald Ash Borer week, so Hamilton County Park officials are reminding the public about their initiatives in dealing with the pesky beetle.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an aggressive, non-native beetle, believed to have been brought into Michigan via shipping crates from China. The EAB larvae burrow into native ash trees, tunneling through living tissue and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree. Most ash trees die within two to five years after being infested by EAB.
The insect continues to spread south through multiple states and was detected in Hamilton County as early as 2007.
Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week is observed by the State of Ohio, and other affected states, in providing an opportunity for community organizations to join forces in dealing the EAB and educating the public. Here is some specific information about the Park District's Management Response Plan in taking affective action with EAB:
- EAB was confirmed in parks in the eastern part of the county in 2009 and it continues to move westward. Out of 21 parks and preserves, Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in six parks across the county.
- Since 2008, the Park District has used purple pheromone ‘traps' provided by the State of Ohio to monitor the presence and distribution of EAB within the parks.
- Of the approximately 165,000 ash trees within the Park District, 43,000 of those ash trees are considered "hazard trees" (could potentially pose a risk if they die and fall).
- The EAB Management Response Plan was created to provide effective and organized responses in dealing with the EAB affect on ash the trees within the parks. Action elements include:
- Ash removal - All ash trees that are hazardous and display damage or injury are slated for removal due to the safety concerns the trees may pose
- Ash Treatment – research results and empirical evidence point to the practical use of emamectin benzoate (TREE-age insecticide) through injection as a method to protect ash trees for up to three years. The use of this method is to strategically slow down the impact of EAB by protecting selected trees of significant aesthetic and interpretive value.
- Monitoring – EAB monitoring has been in place since 2008 with purple pheromone ‘traps' provided by ODA.
- Wood Disposal and Utilization – The Hamilton County Park District is undertaking several approaches to dispose and utilize wood generated from ash removals, such as selling logs, donating logs for use in new school buildings, mulching logs and wood waste to create landscape mulch and contract removal.
- Reforestation – Ash tree replacement plantings have been scheduled and routinely implemented throughout the park system since the fall of 2007.
- Education –informing the public about EAB and the Hamilton County Park District's Management Response Plan.