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Joyce Endee

Cooperative Extension Service advises homeowners on Emerald Ash Borer threat



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Kyle Lombard, Forest Entomologist and Pathologist for the NH Div. of Forests and Lands drills into the base of an Ash tree infested with the Emerald Ash Borer in Clark Park on Tuesday, July 20. Watching the treatment application demonstration are Erik Grove of Southern Maine Forestry Services, Crystal Franciosi, a Consulting Utility Forester contracted to Eversource, and Dode Gladders, Field Specialist, Natural Resources, with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
July 29, 2021
REGION — The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), first spotted in New Hampshire in 2013, has been devastating acres of New Hampshire ash trees. That may be a present boon to the woodpecker population, but the larvae they thrive on can kill an ash tree in three to five years.

EAB were identified in Alton in 2016 and have been moving north. Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro infestations appeared in 2018, followed by Ossipee and Brookfield in 2020.

Forester Wendy Scribner's beat for the University of New Hampshire's Cooperative Extension Service, so to speak, is Carroll County. That brought her to Wolfeboro on July 20, specifically to Clark Park, to host two sessions for forestry professionals on the latest treatment techniques. The Extension Service can help develop plans for municipalities in assessing, predicting and slowing down infestations with treatment, but the Tuesday sessions were aimed at aiding professionals in responding to homeowners' needs.

Kyle Lombard, Forest Entomologist and Pathologist for the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, demonstrated the treatment process on a declining 60 70 year old tree in Clark Park. The tree, Scribner pointed out, was probably not previously treated as some evidently were at the Clark Museum Complex, due to the progress of the infestation (50 percent of the crown is dead), but the team decided to give it a chance for educational purposes. Scribner said homeowners would do well to consult with a professional to assess the ash trees on their property and evaluate when treatment is warranted.

Trees may have to be removed and possibly replaced or treated with insecticides. The effectiveness of the treatment is diminished in trees that are already in decline. Safety is a factor in making a decision to take down a tree ash trees are brittle, and dead limbs can drop and splinter, and if a failing tree is in a public place, it can be a hazard. The decision to attempt to treat and save a tree must factor in its shade, which affects heating and cooling costs, and its esthetic properties that increase property value.s

Treatment may cost several hundred dollars, pointed out UNH Extension Forester Dode Gladders (Sullivan County) but spread out over time, that may be less expensive than the costs associated with removing a tree, such as the tree under examination in Clark Park, which could be around $2,000.

Lombard demonstrated the drilling of holes four to eight inches apart around the circumference of the tree to attendees, followed by the insertion of narrow, yellow plugs and a tube for chemical application. Since pollination is by wind, he said, untreated ash trees near a treated tree can benefit when the EABs consume treated material and cross over to another tree and lay eggs.

Homeowners are encouraged to report any suspect trees at NHBugs.org for review by a forestry professional. Scribner may be reached at wendy.scribner@unh.edu.

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