Of course trees are important! Trees provide oxygen, homes and habitats for wildlife, erosion control, shade, and some provide food for humans and animals alike! Not all trees though, are being decimated by an invasive insect called the Emerald Ash Borer.
This insect’s larva will tunnel into the bark, essentially stopping the flow of food and water to the rest of the tree. Without this, the tree will die in 3-5 years after the Borers invade. Billions upon billions of Ash trees have died in America and out of the estimated 300 million Ash trees in PA alone, tens of millions of these trees have been killed by these insects.
Here at Bucks County Audubon Society, we were concerned about our giant Ash Tree that is nestled beautifully next to our Visitor Center. This tree could potentially be 200 years old and is unusually large. Many Ash trees have been known to split off at the trunk in two separate directions, however our tree splits off into 8 different directions! This Ash tree is an icon at our Environmental Education center. Pre-Schoolers have held hands around the tree, summer campers have climbed and rested in it, and college students have lounged beneath it.
Needless to say, we wanted to protect this great Ash tree and prevent it from being destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer. Fortunately, the tree is infestation free, but it’s always great to get it “vaccinated” to prevent it from being eaten alive. The Emerald Ash Borer will drill D shaped holes into the tree; something that has not happened to ours!
Luckily for us, we received a grant to help us get our Ash tree medicated through the Tree Work for Charity! Giroud Tree and Lawn Care came and gave our tree an IV, allowing the medicine to flow up the vascular tissues of the woody part of the tree and into the leaves. If an Emerald Ash Borer decided that it wanted to bore into the wood and munch on the leaves, it would die from the medicine that the tree stored. This is insect specific and won’t kill off other harmless and native critters.
Frist, Giroud drilled small holes into the trunk of the tree. Then plugs were hammered into the holes. Once the plugs were in place, an IV drip was hooked up. Ash trees can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as 4 hours to finish sucking up that medicine. Our tree was very thirsty and finished its dose in roughly 20 minutes! This “vaccine” needs only to be applied every two years in order to keep the Emerald Ash Borers at bay.
Hopefully, with this treatment and our watchful eye, we can continue to keep this giant tree healthy! For some more info as to why trees in general (and Ash tees) are so important, click on these links!