DNR Plans to Save Some Ash Trees for Future Generations

At least some ash trees in Indiana will survive the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) invasion if a DNR initiative is successful. The agency is using chemical treatments to protect large specimens of ash trees in areas unaffected so far by EAB. The project includes trees in Turkey Run State Park and in several nature preserves. Treatments will take place this spring and will include at least a few specimens of all ash species found in Indiana: 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 invasion is advancing south. Without intervention, all ash trees in the state will likely die. 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. The reasons for saving at least some large ash trees are several, according to 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, the chance to see these large trees in years to come is reason enough.


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