Experimental research in Strongsville's Waterford Crossing hopes to wipe out emerald ash borer

In Cleveland.com's article about the Strongsville research project, Davey's Anand Persad tells readers that the community came together in support of this groundbreaking research and being proactive in saving its ash trees. 

Posted: Sept. 8, 2014 

By Lee McKinstry 

Some description

It's been over ten years since the emerald ash borer first arrived in Ohio, the ash-killing Asian insect that can topple trees in as little as three years. According to the United States National Arboretum, the invasive species has already killed more than twenty-five million ash trees nationwide, and many declare the fight to save ashes already lost. 

But there's still hope, at least in Strongsville, where a one-of-a-kind experimental research project was launched in an effort to save the city's ashes.

Since 2007, the Davey Expert Tree Company has partnered with the City of Strongsville and the Waterford Crossing Homeowners' Association to test 14 different environmentally-safe techniques and products on hundreds of affected ashes. The venture is unique because of its varied sponsors as well as its testing location, Waterford Crossing, a planned recreation community of 611 homes. Two years ago, city foresters and arborists from all over Ohio gathered in Strongsville to visit the research site and pick up a few tips on how to combat the emerald ash borer in their own communities.

"This is the only place I'm aware of in the world where 14 different methods were tried on hundreds of ash trees," said Anand Persad, Manage of Plant Sciences Research at the Davey Tree Company.  "It's groundbreaking because what we have here is a marriage of private corporations and the community's response and the manufacturers of the products' contributions. We have all these parties coming together in one site and it would not have been possible if all the parts hadn't come together so nicely."

The choice of Waterford Parkway as a testing site makes the project doubly unusual. Traversing the residential community, the mile-long boulevard's many ashes make it a popular pedestrian walkway and one of the main reasons many Strongsville residents choose to make Waterford Crossing their home. Instead of a remote testing site, the affected trees line an easily accessible lane with heavy foot traffic, and researchers had to change their game plan accordingly. No bombarding the trees with harsh chemical sprays. No kneading pesticides into the ground where a dog or a child could reach.

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