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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Kiss Your Ash Goodbye?

Conservation, Forestry, Public Policy

Wisconsin is home to an estimated 740 million ash trees - most of them found in the forests across the state with more than 5 million of those trees to be found in our urban communities. 

Since I last posted on this subject in May of this year the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been discovered in Wisconsin.

It has long been expected that EAB was here - it being only a matter of time until it was located.

Enjoy your ash trees while you can because it looks like we're in for difficult fight.

Since it's discovery in Michigan six years ago, the pest has killed-off an estimated 25 million trees in the 10 states where it has been found.  This is an efficient killer - moving faster and with deadlier results than Dutch Elm Disease.

The larva of the beetle spends its life feasting beneath the bark of ash trees. The tree suffers extensive damage to its vascular system, depriving the tree's crown of water and nutrients until it dies.

According to Wauwatosa Parks and Forestry Superintendent, Kenneth Walbrandt, about seventeen percent of the city trees are ash.  Wauwatosa has already modified its master planting plan to favor alternative species in light of the unavoidable arrival of the ash borer.   

So what's going to happen when the borer arrives?  "We intend to use all of the tools at our disposal, especially the expertise of the people at the Department of Agricultural" says Walbrandt.  

For the present, the city plans to go above and beyond what Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection recommends, with a plan to identify diseased city trees, take them down and process them in the city yard - chipping them and composting the debris.

So what can you do to slow the arrival?

For starters - don't move firewood into Tosa.  Purchase and use local firewood. 

The critter doesn't travel too far on its own but can cover a great deal of territory when unsuspecting people haul infested firewood from one location to another.

Now that EAB has been located in the counties to the north - do not transport or use firewood that was purchased, stored, harvested in, or that has in any way entered Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, or Fond du Lac counties.  These counties are under quarantine.

I you observe crown die-back report it.  Same for other symptoms of a potential infestation like sprouting at the tree's base and D-shaped holes in the bark.  Call 1-800-462-2803 or e-mail DATCPEmeraldAshBorer@wisconsin.gov.

In the mean time you can probably expect to see a new infestation following on the heels of the EAB - con artists looking rip you-off.

Tom

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