Exploradio: Fighting against the end of ashes

In this radio segment and article from WKSU, Davey's Anand Persad talks about the collaboration between the community of Strongsville, Davey's donation of research and the private companies that donated the insecticides. 

Posted: Sept. 8, 2014 

By Jeff St. Clair 

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Scientists are still trying to figure out how to fight an invasive tree-killing pest a decade after it first appeared in Ohio.

The emerald ash borer has been the most destructive forest insect ever to hit North America, with hundreds of millions of trees killed and an estimated economic impact of nearly $4 billion in Ohio alone.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at the latest efforts in the war against the ash tree killer.

A landscaping crew, armed with noisy leaf blowers, clears debris from the sidewalks of this well-groomed suburban allotment.

Jennifer Milbrandt oversees the city of Strongsville’s urban forest. She’s here to inspect a row of 155 medium-sized ash trees that line the street.

Some of the ashes are crowned with dead, bare branches, a sure sign of emerald ash borer infestation. But some still seem healthy, with full, green canopies.

Milbrandt says the allotment is part of an experiment Strongsville began in 2007 with Kent-based Davey Tree Expert Company to test strategies to save the ashes.

The experiment began just before the invasive pest struck Strongsville, so Millbrandt says the city was willing to take a chance on prevention "because we were hoping that they would find something that would stop the bug.”

Davey’s Anand Persad is comparing the survival rates of treated trees to those left untreated in this real-world insect onslaught.

He says the goal is not to save every ash tree, "but to find products and delivery systems that can potentially preserve ash trees for other municipalities, other districts, other regions of the country.”

Read more about what the city of Strongsville is doing to save their ash trees. 

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