New publication to help forest land managers deal with tree killer

For immediate release
April 25, 2012

Contact
Ginger Anderson,
Phone: 802-583-7507
Email: [email protected]

Waitsfield, VT – The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) has completed a new publication to help forest managers understand potential impacts of an insect pest that is poised at Vermont’s borders. The publication is Ash Management Guidelines for Forest Managers. It can be found at www.vtfpr.org/protection/frontpage.cfm or contact your County Forester for more information.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a non-native wood-boring beetle that attacks and kills all native ash tree species. Vermont has three species of this graceful hardwood, including white ash, the wood of which has been widely used for baseball bats, tool handles and other valuable products. Ash produces a seed similar to maple that is eaten by wildlife including turkeys, songbirds and squirrels. Ash trees provide some of the warm yellows and purplish leaf tones in early fall. Ash is an important street tree in neighborhoods where it was planted for its sturdy form and pleasing foliage.

“Although EAB has not been detected in Vermont, we encourage forest landowners to plan ahead now for the future potential infestation” said State Forester Steve Sinclair. “We hope this new publication will help foresters and landowners manage forests with ash.”

VT FPR is supporting EAB detection programs with partners including the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the USDA, and the University of Vermont. Through Vermont’s new Forest Pest First Detector program, volunteers are working in communities to look for EAB and other pests.

A federal quarantine restricts the movement of firewood, ash logs, chips and nursery stock from EAB regulated areas to our west. Moving firewood is a primary human-caused activity that increases the rate of spread of this and other invasive insects, and has led to restrictions on all hardwood firewood movement out of quarantine areas. Campers are urged to leave firewood at home to avoid spreading pests to campgrounds.

Symptoms of EAB infestation include sudden and intense woodpecker activity on trees, dead branches near the top of a tree, very small D-shaped holes on tree bark, of the tree trunk.

Although there are currently no practical control options for EAB in forest settings there are several strategies to slow the insect. Research is being conducted to test possible options including biocontrol and to understand why a few trees have survived EAB attacks. Vermont foresters have already collected ash seeds to conserve ash genes in the future. Experiences in other states show that widespread ash tree removal will not eliminate EAB, and may encourage it to move further to find suitable host trees.

If you think you may have seen signs of EAB, report it. Call the EAB hotline at 1-866-322-4512. Learn more about how to become a First Detector at www.vtinvasives.org

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