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EAB: A case for treatment

May 21, 2013 -  By

It’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness week, and I’m on my way home from Naperville, Ill., where I visited with members of a public-private coalition who are working to save the ash trees there from this invasive, devastating pest.

EAB, which was first detected in Michigan in 2002, has killed tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan alone and many millions more throughout the Midwest, Ontario, parts of the East Coast and as far west as Kansas. (Get updates on the pest’s current location and status here.)

In many cities officials have opted to simply remove their municipal ash trees once EAB has been detected. But some, like the members of the coalition in Naperville, have decided to fight to keep their trees. Not only are they an important part of the visual landscape of tree-lined streets in places like the Chicago suburbs, they provide environmental, economic and health benefits, too.

The people in Naperville working to save their ash trees include city officials, Valent Professional Products and its Legacy Tree Project; certified arborist M. D. Skeet (“Skeet”), district manager for The Care of Trees; and city residents led by Bob Buckman, immediate past president of the Naperville Area Homeowner’s Confederation.

This ad hoc team of ash advocates realized the EAB epidemic was going to hit the city’s budget one way or another–whether they removed the trees or treated them. The latter approach allows them to retain the beautiful tree-lined streets their residents know and love. The moral of the story in Naperville? Treatment is an option.

I’ll share more details about the status of Naperville’s some 16,000 municipal ash trees in our July issue, but the photo above is a sneak peek at how things are going. The tree in the foreground marked with the blue and white rope is a municipal ash tree being treated with insecticides through the Legacy Tree Project. (You don’t get the greatest look at the canopy in this shot, but I can assure you it’s green and full.) The dead tree in the background is an untreated ash tree on private property. It’s been tagged for removal, along with six others you can’t see in the photo.

Updated May 28 to correct M.D. Skeet’s name and title.

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About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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