As fall color moves across the state, more hikers and hunters will be spending time in Ohio’s forests. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reminds all outdoor enthusiasts to be cautious of dead or dying ash trees that may now be present in Ohio’s forests and landscapes.
“Standing dead ash trees create a safety hazard for hunters and hikers, as brittle limbs and trees trunks are easily broken or blown over,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester. “This is a simple reminder for outdoorsmen and women to be alert to their surroundings as they enjoy Ohio’s forests and woodlands.”
The emerald ash borer (agrilus planipennis), a wood-boring beetle native to Asia, was discovered in the Detroit area in 2002, likely accidentally introduced in solid wood packing material, and was then discovered in Northwest Ohio in 2003. Emerald ash borer larvae feed beneath the bark of ash trees, preventing the ability of a tree to move water and nutrients. Once an ash tree becomes infested with EAB, it usually dies in less than five years.
EAB is present throughout Ohio, most of the eastern United States, and southeastern Canada, and it has killed hundreds of millions of native ash trees in North America. Various government agencies, non-governmental organizations and universities are conducting management and research to reduce the impact of EAB and implement restoration activities, including chemical treatments, biological controls and breeding genetically resistant ash trees.
The ODNR Division of Forestry offers the following advice:
• People should identify dead and dying ash trees around their homes and in their community that have the potential to harm people or property.
• Contact a certified arborist at www.treesaregood.org to identify ways to manage the risk associated with dead and dying ash trees in the yard.
• Exercise caution when entering a wooded area and be aware of any standing dead trees nearby, especially in windy conditions. This caution is important in urban environments as well, since many urban areas had been planted with ash trees over the years.
• EAB eggs, larvae, and adults, as well as other plant pests and diseases, can be moved on or in firewood, so minimize the movement of firewood. “Burn it where you buy it,” and be aware of all county quarantines on firewood or any plant material.
For more information on plant pest quarantines, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Health at www.agri.ohio.gov/plant or 614-728-6400.