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Silent Killers Stalk Backyard Giants

In this article from The Day Newspaper in Connecticut, Davey's Adam Cervin tells readers to be proactive when it comes to EAB and other potential tree diseases.

Published: August 20, 2014

By Kathy Connolly

Have You Checked the Trees Lately?

Some descriptionYou may think you live in a safe neighborhood, but if you were a tree you'd think differently. Tree thugs are on the loose.

Experts know most of the suspects, have their photos, and can even name their general whereabouts. But without involvement from tree owners, there is a limit to how much the experts can do.

Case in point: Emerald ash borer (EAB) is confirmed in 38 Connecticut towns, now pushing east into Clinton, Durham, and Cromwell. According to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), which monitors plant disease and insect threats throughout the state, ash trees make up 4- to 15 percent of the state's green canopy, depending on the locale. EAB was first discovered in New Haven County in 2012, and, according to Dr. Clare Rutledge at CAES, parasitizing wasps were released in 2013. Woodpeckers are their only other natural predator in this area.

But while we wait for wasps to control the EAB population, this copper green borer beetle, less than ½-inch long, can kill every ash in its path. Ask anyone from Michigan, Ohio, or Pennsylvania.

Adam Cervin, a licensed arborist with Care of Trees who works in eastern Connecticut, says that when an insect is confirmed in that broad a territory, "We can assume EAB is present throughout the state. It just hasn't been confirmed yet."

The good news, he says, is that mature ash trees can survive EAB with preventive treatment.

"The rule of thumb is to treat otherwise-healthy ash trees when EAB has been discovered within 15 miles," says Cervin.

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