Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - At least one expert says the Emerald ash borer threat is all-but-unstoppable. Over the next decade, Onondaga County lose all of its ash trees, which number in the millions.
The emerald ash borer is sweeping across the nation and, when it’s done, experts say it will wipe out all the ash trees in the US.
Tomorrow, Central New Yorkers will have a chance to learn more about the insect and how to spot ash trees in your neighborhood.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Forest Resource Educator David Skeval hopes a tagging program will help people understand the gravity of the situation.
“Conceptually, it’s really a tough thing to understand and I think when we start putting tags in Onondaga Lake Park all of a sudden people's minds will be able to stretch a little further and understand the impact of this,” Skeval said.
In Michigan, where the harmless looking pest and the larvae it lays was first found a decade ago, all ash trees are now infested and dying. Skeval says we have the chance to get out in front of the situation, even if there is no way to stop it.
He says Central New York municipalities along with all of us with ash trees should begin planning how to take down these trees . Cutting down healthy trees is safer and less expensive. If you wait, a dying ash tree that is unreachable with a bucket truck is real trouble.
“You should not put a person up in a dead ash tree because it’s so fragile and breaks apart so easy. So if that becomes the situation, somebody will be left with a large dead ash tree in their backyard until it comes down by force of wind or breakage,” Skeval said.
He says there’s concern for both property damage and for personal injury. With so many ash trees around - hundreds of millions in New York – it will be a matter of prioritizing the ones that need to be taken down first before they become infected and fall down on their own.
Ash trees are identifiable by their narrowly ridged bark. If you press your thumbnail into it, it feels more like corkboard.
"The branch when they come off another branch , come out directly across from each other and that's opposed to alternate branching where the branches are staggered going up the tree,” Skeval said.
The meeting on the emerald ash border will be held Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Onondaga Lake Park next to the Salt Museum.