Bracing for Ash Borer

By Jeremy Moule
Rochester, NY (December 15, 2010)- The sighting of the destructive emerald ash borer in Chili earlier this year has put other Monroe communities on notice. The ash borer is a small, shimmering blue-green beetle whose larvae burrow through the cambium of ash trees, essentially disrupting a tree’s circulatory system and killing it.


Preventing infestations can be pricey. The trees can be preemptively cut down or they can be chemically treated, but both options have significant price tags. For example, Rochester City Council plans to spend $460,500 to treat up to 4,700 ash trees – at an estimated $45 a pop, though cost varies depending on size – and to remove 400 others.
But Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Paul Holahan told Council that treating the trees is essentially a temporary response. Treatment protects the trees for about two years, he said, which gives the city time to remove ash trees and replace them with different types of trees.
Rochester is one of several local communities that plan to take action, or are at least discussing a strategy to keep the ash trees from falling victim to the pest. “We are trying to instigate all communities in Monroe (and other) counties to assess their urban forests and plan for the arrival of emerald ash borer,” says John Gibbs, a Department of Environmental Conservation regional forester based out of Bath. “Given the current economic situation this is not an easy task.”
SUNY Brockport’s trying the wait-and-see approach on its declining and less-visible ash trees, says Chad Collins, head grounds supervisor at the college. But college staff did treat a cluster of ash trees along one of the college’s main drags, Collins says.
Village of Brockport officials haven’t concluded what, if anything, they’ll do. The village’s Tree Board has suggested treating a group of trees in Corbett’s Park. The cluster accounts for more than half of the village’s 94 ash trees. Fairport and the Village of Pittsford have also discussed the ash borer problem. And Brighton has $89,200 in its 2011 budget to treat or remove ash trees on town rights-of-way.
Related Resources:
City Newspaper- ENVIRONMENT: Bracing for Ash Borer
Bugs, Beetles and Borers put U.S. Forests at Risk