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-   -   Emerald Ash Borer (http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=28109)

serotonin 07-02-2021 03:09 AM

Verily, we must Choppeth them up...
and Stompeth them down.

serotonin 07-02-2021 03:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by serotonin (Post 286261)
Verily, we must Choppeth them up...
and Stompeth them down.


It'll sure look Ugly for a thousand years.

Crash 07-02-2021 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Schultzz (Post 286258)
"Infestations like this have happened in the past and the trees have adapted to handle them."
Ash trees do not "handle" the EAB invasive species, they just die and do not return. I suggest you read up on invasive species in this country. They are causing billions of lost dollars to the lumber industry, and becoming a headache to many residential communities within the park and through out the US.

Infestations like the caterpillars have happened in the past and I assume that's why the trees evolved multiple leafings. It's possible (and I would guess even likely) that something similar will happen with ash trees. It'll just part of the evolution of the ash genome.

In order for the genome to evolve, a significant portion of the individual tree that do not have favorable characteristics (perhaps well over 99%) die off, leaving behind those that have "mutations" that are favorable to protecting itself from EAB. Sure its painful to watch. Maybe it'll take thousands of years before ash forests can become viable across large regions again.

Just as mankind has "interfered" with nature by bringing the EAB to this country, mankind may also "interfere" with nature by helping ash trees evolve at a faster pace through gene splicing in an effort to create a better genome.

serotonin 07-02-2021 11:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crash (Post 286267)
Sure its painful to watch. Maybe it'll take thousands of years before ash forests can become viable across large regions again.




Who cares...?

montcalm 07-02-2021 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crash (Post 286267)
Infestations like the caterpillars have happened in the past and I assume that's why the trees evolved multiple leafings. It's possible (and I would guess even likely) that something similar will happen with ash trees. It'll just part of the evolution of the ash genome.

In order for the genome to evolve, a significant portion of the individual tree that do not have favorable characteristics (perhaps well over 99%) die off, leaving behind those that have "mutations" that are favorable to protecting itself from EAB. Sure its painful to watch. Maybe it'll take thousands of years before ash forests can become viable across large regions again.

Just as mankind has "interfered" with nature by bringing the EAB to this country, mankind may also "interfere" with nature by helping ash trees evolve at a faster pace through gene splicing in an effort to create a better genome.

I suspect this will be like most of other invasive encounters in the past two centuries - it's going to kill 99% of the trees it affects. Chestnut, Elm, Beech... all the same. Different pathogens, similar impacts to the ecosystems.

Trees are incredibly versatile, in some cases forcing their own genetic selection in response to pathogens. Transposons, or transposable genes are active in many plants. Once in a while this strategy works and resistant strains can develop. We are really just starting to understand this reality in that genetics and environment are almost inseparable despite the traditional "nature vs nurture" dichotomy. It's also shown that mechanisms like this actually speed species change through evolution in response to major changes in environment. So called punctuated equilibrium. Us intervening may speed the process such as in Chestnut repopulation and Beech management. The idea is we can cheat what would, or may take thousands of years to reestablish.

Hard to say if our intervention to fix our mistakes is the right move. Law of unintended consequences says there will be negative impacts of this - but again, negative to who? Our lens is us and our economy. We see these impacts and it frustrates us but really it's a much bigger picture, one that we won't fully understand, and maybe neither will the next generation...

Schultzz 07-02-2021 06:12 PM

After a forest fire burns all the available fuel, two things happen. Biochar is created and a new forest begins. Unfortunately WE likely will not see it to fruition, but someone will benefit from it. We can only hope
that new Ash tree species will be among the new generation growth. I hope then someone else will care.

montcalm 07-02-2021 06:35 PM

It's not even that people don't care - some do, but these kind of things are going to happen. They're inevitable if we trade things globally. Same with pandemics. These things aren't new, they go back to the Silk Road.

Isolation creates specialization and genetic islands. When we, or something else, break these barriers, we have new interactions that may be unfavorable for certain species. The more intermixed the globe becomes, the more of this we will see.

We aren't really unique in this way either - natural changes have always done this sort of thing but humans can really accelerate the effects and we tend to not like the lack of a quick, short-term fix.

Tug Hill 07-03-2021 05:36 AM

I’m an Industrial Forester who worked for the largest Timberland Manager In NY, (270,000 acres under management) I’ve have not yet seen any evidence of the EAB in the core forest of Tug Hill. So the harvest prescription on the 30,000 acres we manage there, is to continue harvesting on a sustainable basis, by cutting only, unacceptable growing stock , at risk, and mature saw timber sized White Ash trees.We can only hope there are other isolated pockets of Ash trees that may be spared from this infestation.

backwoodsman 07-03-2021 09:00 AM

In 2019 there were 11 counties that hadn't confirmed EAB , now there are 4 . Lewis , Hamilton , Essex , and Washington.

montcalm 07-03-2021 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tug Hill (Post 286299)
I’m an Industrial Forester who worked for the largest Timberland Manager In NY, (270,000 acres under management) I’ve have not yet seen any evidence of the EAB in the core forest of Tug Hill. So the harvest prescription on the 30,000 acres we manage there, is to continue harvesting on a sustainable basis, by cutting only, unacceptable growing stock , at risk, and mature saw timber sized White Ash trees.We can only hope there are other isolated pockets of Ash trees that may be spared from this infestation.

What is the basal area percentage of Ash in the 30k acres?

What are the %s of other species?

Tug Hill 07-03-2021 05:19 PM

Don’t know that off hand would have to check in with the office in Saranac Lake, because the property was recently re-inventoried and placed under the 480-A Tax Law, and the cruise was contracted out. Plus it is most likely proprietary.

But there is a substantial amount of White Ash in scattered lower slope pockets with deep top soils. In recent timber sales we have harvested large quantities of high grade White Ash sawlogs.

Being scattered pockets, maybe the reason we have not yet seen the EAB here ? I’m not sure how far the EAB can travel on its own in its life span, without help from humans ,other animals and insects. And yes this is Lewis County.

montcalm 07-03-2021 05:28 PM

OK - not trying to horn in on your trees, just curious what kind of population is escaping.

I was assuming less than 10% of the forest component there is Ash though. Maybe that's wrong, but I was roughly guessing based on looking at DEC maps and more detailed assessments of areas I know.

montcalm 07-04-2021 07:01 PM

GM Damage in Naples, NY. It's pretty bad, most hillsides look like this or worse.

https://scontent-ort2-1.xx.fbcdn.net...f2&oe=60E6826D

montcalm 07-05-2021 04:58 PM

I went for a short hike today in Rochester area. As I've said before dead Ash trees everywhere. Every once in a while my eye catches something that looks odd, or out of place. Yep - a healthy Ash tree!

I didn't inspect them close enough to see if they had been bored, but I bet they were, because I saw other dead trees within a stone's throw (As I said earlier in this thread I know of one tree that had been bored and looks completely unphased). I'm hoping some more will be presented on this later because I'm sure a few people are studying it, but it looks to me some trees may have some sort of resistance... or are just dying a little slower...

St.Regis 07-07-2021 01:16 PM

I've seen 'dead' ash trees that looked like telephone poles come back to life after beaver were trapped out or abandoned their ponds and stopped maintaining their dams. The water went down, the bottoms dried up a bit, and the old green and black ash skeletons started sprouting near their bases. Ash are pretty tough and I don't discount their resiliency....But for awhile the buckthorn, honeysuckle, mf rose, and VA creeper are loving the extra sun...I bet the woodpeckers aren't complaining either

chairrock 07-07-2021 08:17 PM

In Yates County the moths are flying.... amazing gypsies! Ashes are pounded...

Schultzz 07-09-2021 05:16 PM

Here's a link that may help you identify invasive species. EAB can travel on its own at certain times of the year.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/res...h-borer-beetle

montcalm 07-09-2021 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by St.Regis (Post 286386)
I've seen 'dead' ash trees that looked like telephone poles come back to life after beaver were trapped out or abandoned their ponds and stopped maintaining their dams. The water went down, the bottoms dried up a bit, and the old green and black ash skeletons started sprouting near their bases. Ash are pretty tough and I don't discount their resiliency....But for awhile the buckthorn, honeysuckle, mf rose, and VA creeper are loving the extra sun...I bet the woodpeckers aren't complaining either

LOL - I don't think I've seen a single Ash tree without a shawl of VA creeper on it.

montcalm 07-10-2021 07:07 PM

A little off the EAB, but I was just watching a video with Tom Wessels and he was saying how beaver will purposely kill larger trees so they will stump sprout and start a new food supply. They also girdle, and kill the Hemlocks near their ponds, because to the beaver they are worthless. They shade out the hardwood species that they would rather eat.

montcalm 12-08-2021 11:39 AM

Some of these mysterious, healthy ash trees I've seen might have been "inoculated". Apparently people have started treating certain trees with pesticides which prevent them from being infested. It's an ongoing treatment, so not something that can be done large-scale but seed trees and landscape trees can be saved.

greatexpectations 12-11-2021 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by montcalm (Post 287895)
Some of these mysterious, healthy ash trees I've seen might have been "inoculated". Apparently people have started treating certain trees with pesticides which prevent them from being infested. It's an ongoing treatment, so not something that can be done large-scale but seed trees and landscape trees can be saved.

i know that 250+ ash trees in the appalachian trail corridor in MA were treated in this manner last summer.

montcalm 12-11-2021 10:21 AM

I didn't know there was any treatment. I know the purple traps were tried a decade or so ago, but they didn't seem to do anything. I thought maybe they were just using them to see where the EAB were present.

I'm also not 100% sure the trees I've seen were treated, but they sure seem healthy compared to everything else.

montcalm 12-11-2021 10:32 AM

I've also seen where arborists have removed all the upper branches from some large trees and they've popped some new growth down low.

These are big trees with big lower trunks, so I'm guessing the EAB has girdled and killed the upper branches, but may not easily kill the main stem. They also don't seem to kill new growth as they aren't burrowing and making their tunnels in there. So perhaps these trees can recover.

I think as St. Regis pointed out earlier, most of these "dead" trees aren't dead. They still have some lower new growth or root sprouts. Some have kicked into a witches broom type response and sprouted growth everywhere, but only the lower branches seem to retain foliage.

Not sure they can recover with such minimal energy input.

DSettahr 12-11-2021 12:17 PM

One of my jobs is in utility vegetation management. Basically, I plan tree work along power lines to ensure reliability/prevent vegetation-caused power outages. Needless to say, a lot of my work in recent years has centered on ash trees- finding them, identifying which ones pose the greatest potential threat to the power lines, and getting permission from property owners for the trees to be cut down before they can fall on the power lines.

The purple traps were never for direct control of EAB. Rather, they had two purposes- first and foremost, they were meant to help identify where the ash borer was present (back then there was a though/glimmer of a hope that it might still be contained, all such hope has basically vanished at this point). The second purpose was public awareness- the traps were placed in visible areas along roadsides to engage public curiosity, get people asking questions- and accordingly, to help the public learn on their own terms about the threat posed by invasive species (as well as those key necessary behaviors to help prevent their spread, such as not moving firewood).

The branches sprouting from the base of the trunk is a phenomenon known as epicormic branching. This is a common stress reaction in many tree species. In some cases where the damage to the upper portions of the tree was purely mechanical (i.e., the top broke off in a storm, or beavers as mentioned above), it can sometimes successfully keep the tree alive despite the loss of much of the live crown. However, in the case of EAB, it's more of a "last, dying gasp of air" before the tree finally succumbs. I've planned removals of plenty of stone-cold dead ash whose stumps were covered in dead small branches that had sprouted out during the final year or two that the tree was still alive. The new branches from the base wasn't enough to keep those trees alive.

I know that there is some thought with other tree species affected by invasive pests that society was too quick to cut all of the remaining trees down, and that by doing so we may have inadvertently felled (and killed) trees that may have possessed natural resistance to those pests. I've asked people much more knowledgeable in the field of EAB than I whether there has ever been any indication that ashes may exist with natural resistance to EAB, and they've answered fairly firmly with "no, we've seen no indication of this whatsoever."

I was also curious about the possibility for isolated pockets of ash to escape infestation. However, where I have been working the past few weeks, the ash is pretty sparse. I've been finding ashes affected by EAB that are likely close to a mile (or more) from the next nearest ash. So EAB is not limited by a short range, at least- and I'm less hopeful that we might see some isolated pockets escape infestation.

There is a treatment but it's an ongoing thing- it needs to be reapplied every few years. My instructions from electric utilities have been to target even treated trees for removal (i.e., at least ask the property owner for permission). What they have been finding is that a lot of folks are paying for a treatment or two, and then as the dawning realization sinks in that they are going to be paying for this for the remainder of the tree's life (and it's not cheap), they are giving up and the trees are being allowed the succumb to EAB and die anyways.

Ash was also a fairly common street tree in a lot of areas. I've worked in municipalities where street after street was lined with hundreds of ash trees, all owned and maintained by the local government. Many of these municipalities are paying for each and every single one of these trees to be treated, but what I've also been finding is that they aren't saying no to any removals planned by electric utilities- because it's that many fewer trees that the municipality has to pay to keep treating.

I've lost track of the number of dead ash trees I've planned removals for. I've had single properties where the number of ash trees that needed to be removed approached 100. The total number of removals I've planned is unquestionably in the thousands and may very well be in the tens of thousands at this point. The project I'm on right now has been running for less than a year, and as every individual ash tree gets entered into the database, it gets an incremental unique ID- and the number is already above 40,000 trees and counting.

With regards to the trees whose crowns were removed but the trunk allowed to remain standing- this was probably a utility removal. Some utilities have ceased doing full removals with ash due to the need to be efficient, not for any consideration regarding whether the tree might survive through epicormic branching. Rather, they simply cut the tree to below striking distance of the wires, and move on. When you consider the following, the need to be efficient is readily apparent:
  • The numbers like I mention above;
  • The fact that all ashes trees are pretty much dying uniformly at the same rate in any geographic area;
  • The cost involved for a full removal (anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per tree depending on size);
  • And the skill and equipment necessary (ashes killed by EAB are pretty dangerous to work around and you can't put climbers in them).
I know that there is some thought that the hemlock woolly adelgid (another invasive insect that is wrecking havoc with hemlock populations through the mid-Atlantic, and accordingly also causing severe consequential impacts on trout habitat) may not be able to survive the (relative) extreme cold of Adirondack winters and therefore may not have the ability to firmly establish itself within the bulk of the Adirondack Park. I have no idea if there's any similar hope that the same may be true of EAB, but I have personal hope, at least. And of course, with climate change, who knows whether future winters will be a limiting factor for the adelgid, either.

The Ian Malcom-inspired idea that "life, uh, uh, finds a way" and that ecosystems will recover from invasives over a long enough period of time isn't necessarily wrong... but it ignores the substantial economic impacts that society must bear the weight of. Current USDA estimates for the financial impacts of all invasive species combined on the North American economy run around $26,000,000,000 a year (and increasing).

And there's societal impacts too. I've worked in areas where invasives have run rampant, and they are absolutely destroying forest ecosystems in those areas. It's so bad that in some areas, abandoned farmland isn't becoming reforested- rather, it's turning in a dense, tangled, impenetrable mess of only a few invasive species (barberry, bittersweet, buckthorn, honeysuckle, and the worst hands-down, multi-flora rose). Great for small mammals, sure, but if you hike and enjoy natural scenery there's little to no value in it for you. And the reality is that this is the end state that society is barreling towards, everywhere. When you consider areas where ashes represented as much as 90% of the standing timber, then the loss of pretty much the entire overstory caused by EAB is absolutely a foothold for these other invasives to further spread and establish themselves. Across much of western NY (Buffalo and Rochester), it won't be another native tree species that repopulates the area in the absence of ash, it will be one of the aforementioned invasive species.

DSettahr 12-11-2021 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DSettahr (Post 287950)
It's so bad that in some areas, abandoned farmland isn't becoming reforested- rather, it's turning in a dense, tangled, impenetrable mess of only a few invasive species (barberry, bittersweet, buckthorn, honeysuckle, and the worst hands-down, multi-flora rose). Great for small mammals, sure, but if you hike and enjoy natural scenery there's little to no value in it for you.

Also, to this point: There is some evidence that the increase in small mammal populations being driven by the increase in invasive plant populations is in turn driving an increase in tick populations... and correspondingly, an increased prevalence of Lyme disease in those areas. It's not too far-fetched to hypothetically link EAB and the loss of ash trees to this chain of events in those areas where ash is/was super prevalent (again, Buffalo, Rochester, etc.).

montcalm 12-11-2021 12:39 PM

Correct - we already have a number of invasives that create a real mess of the understory.


Those trees may have been trimmed to protect the utilities, but honestly I don't see why they didn't take the whole tree. Perhaps it was a budgetary consideration and those branches that were removed were the main liability.

I've anecdotally noticed like 100% death rate in groves of Ash in swamps and such, and all smaller diameter trees - probably in the 12" dbh range or less. I'd assumed the EAB is just able to girdle them much easier and because there are so many, transmit them very easily from tree to tree.

The trees I've seen alive and healthy have been isolated, but I assume they must be treated because I've seen plenty of isolated landscape trees that are toast. Also I know EAB was in the proximity because I could see stands of dead Ash not far from them.

Anyway, I figure that those large diameter trees might be tougher to kill.

Epicormic shoots look to be what I see - it's not as dense as a witches broom. And yes, I figured it was just a severe stress response in hopes to keep itself alive.

They don't seem to be progressing with more new growth, but rather slowly losing more and more foliage. And of course some are already being choked with VA creeper.



Regarding the long term impact - some speculate we may come out with stronger ecosystems from this... but the timeframe on that is probably in centuries. Short term it's a real mess. I had already considered the major impact it will have for homeowners, but as you point out, it's become a double hit as utility consumers and towns will end up bearing the burden of removal or continuing treatment.

DSettahr 12-11-2021 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by montcalm (Post 287953)
Those trees may have been trimmed to protect the utilities, but honestly I don't see why they didn't take the whole tree. Perhaps it was a budgetary consideration and those branches that were removed were the main liability.

Like I mentioned above, some utilities have ceased doing full removals of ash for reasons of budget/efficiency. Utility tree crews are not private tree care companies, and the results of their necessary work isn't always going to be the most aesthetically-pleasing sight. But in the case of pruning live tree branches back from the wires, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily unreasonably harmful to the health of the tree, either (contrary to what many property owners like to claim).

montcalm 12-11-2021 01:33 PM

I'll check and see if there's any utilities around these ones I've seen.

I generally notice utility trimming, because all our roadside trees are trimmed, but perhaps the ash stood out as being butchered.

DSettahr 12-11-2021 01:37 PM

It's also possible that if it were someone's private tree, the tree care company they contracted gave them two options: "We can either cut the entire tree down and you can pay more money, or we can mitigate most of the risk by cutting most of the crown but leaving the trunk and you can pay less money" and the property owner went for the less money option.

The trunk may have also been purposefully left as a snag for wildlife.

montcalm 12-11-2021 01:51 PM

Yeah, I was going to mention that. I've seen this done for private residence where just the crown is removed. My neighbor has a black walnut where he did that, and it's coming back to life, it seems. It's been growing new shoots every year and keeps growing.


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