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Friday, August 16th, 2013

Infected ash trees coming down at Eastview Park

By Betty Lawrence
The majority of trees in Celina's Eastview Park are ash and nearly 80 of them are infested with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).
"Last week we marked the ash trees that are completely dead. They will be taken down this winter (by city employees) and all those infected will be taken down gradually," said Celina Public Works Superintendent Joe Wolfe.
A number of ash trees throughout the entire city also are infested.
"If an infected tree is in the city's tree lawn (between the sidewalk and street), call the city, but if it is in the homeowner's lawn, they are responsible," Wolfe said.
The project will be ongoing.  
"Our goal is to replace the ash trees and how long that takes depends on the city's finances," he said.
The borer became noticeable in Celina about a year and a half ago, Wolfe said.
The invasive insect is present in most of the Eastern United States and was first identified in Ohio in 2003. It is not native to the United States and is believed to have arrived on cargo ships from China; crates often are made of ash wood. The pest was first discovered in Michigan in 2002.
Indications of the borer include a thinning of the tree's canopy (crown), branch dieback and the insect's small D-shaped exit holes in the tree's bark. Adult borers are metallic green and about the size of a grain of cooked rice.
Residents suspecting their
trees may be infected may call the city or extension office.
Several of Celina's neighboring communities also have been hit hard by the EAB.
The borer has been a big problem in the city of St. Marys and Tim Boehmer, the city's arborist, has been given the go-ahead on a treatment program for their infected ash trees.
Several hundred trees are infected he said, particularly in the parks and the city's boulevard areas.
"We are using an insecticide and currently are treating the trees that have the borer but are still in good condition. Some of the treated trees are in fair condition," Boehmer said.
The product has a good success rate, he said, as it kills the borer larva, which is the most damaging to the trees.
"We have treated 165 trees thus far and will continue to do it until leaf drop in the fall. We will know for sure next spring, during leaf emergence, how effective it was. The product is good up to three years. Then we will look at the inventory to determine what needs to be treated again. The hope is to preserve what is out there and maybe the insect population will move on," he said.
The city is removing infected trees that are beyond repair and hazardous to the public, he added. Sixty trees have been replaced and more will be planted as the budget allows. The city has applied for a ODNR grant to help with the cost of razing the trees.
Coldwater's village manager Eric Thomas reports that, unfortunately, the EAB is alive and doing well in Coldwater.
"We removed approximately 20 ash trees on public property (right-of-ways and park grounds) this year. We applied for a grant from ODNR to remove approximately 25 more this year. If we don't get the grant, they will come down in the next two to four years," Thomas said.
The village is still trying to treat nearly 50 of the larger ash trees in the park. Only time will tell if the treatment works.
St. Marys and Coldwater have Tree City USA designations, which makes them eligible for the ODNR grant. Celina does not have the designation.
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