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Published: Saturday, 4/2/2005

Ash tree pest discovered in Hancock County

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The emerald ash borer tunnels into trees, weakening them until the point where they eventually die. The emerald ash borer tunnels into trees, weakening them until the point where they eventually die.
HIRES / BLADE Enlarge

VAN BUREN, Ohio - North America's emerald ash borer problem has moved into northern Hancock County, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The first infestation was confirmed along Allen Township Road 114, just south of the Wood-Hancock county line. It is believed to be an extension of a problem in the vicinity of North Baltimore. That infestation in southern Wood County - more widespread than once thought - is just a few miles to the north of Van Buren.

Crews have removed 38,000 ash trees in North Baltimore and surrounding areas, after originally thinking they would only have to bring down 10,000.

About 60 percent are saplings. Many others are mature, healthy trees that lie within a half-mile radius of infestation points.

The government requires crews to take down all ash within a half-mile of trees weakened by the beetle, in hopes of cutting the pest off from its food source. No chemical treatments are considered effective enough to save trees within that close of a radius, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies.

Officials aren't sure how many trees will be taken down in the Van Buren area. But between that infested area and what still needs to come down in the North Baltimore area, the tally for that part of the state likely will rise to 50,000, said Melissa Brewer, a state agriculture department spokesman.

Thousands more are coming down in the Toledo area.

The emerald ash borer, a pest suspected to have been accidentally imported from Asia in a shipping crate, was first discovered in a Detroit suburb in 2002.

It has since been found throughout much of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, as far north as the Mackinac Bridge, as well as parts of Ontario, Maryland, Virginia, and Indiana.

Other parts of Ohio with infested trees include northeast Columbus and the vicinity of Hicksville.

The three workshops on the issue will be held in Toledo, beginning with Monday in the Point Place branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 2727 117th St. Others are scheduled for April 14 in the Ottawa Park Nature Education Building on Kenwood Boulevard, and April 21 in the former Martin School, 10 South Holland-Sylvania Rd. All begin at 6 p.m.

Monroe County Community College and the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service also will co-host a public symposium on the emerald ash borer Wednesday.

The symposium will include presentations from some of the area's top researchers.

It is to begin at 7 p.m. in the college's La-Z-Boy Center on its main campus at 1555 South Raisinville Rd.

The workshops and the college symposium are free.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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