Forestry experts were on hand in Rhinelander last night to answer questions from the public about the emerald ash borer.
Though Oneida County has a relatively low abundance of ash trees, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Don Kissinger says the greatest impact will be in cities, where ash trees are some of the most popular to line streets and backyards.
“There’s more trees out there than people think. And ash trees in cityscapes are probably the number two tree behind maple, as far as numbers of trees. In Rhinelander here, we have a little over two hundred street trees that are ash.”
And Kissinger says there are probably four times that many on private property within city limits.
Though not affordable on a forest-wide scale, insecticide treatments are available for individual trees.
The city of Rhinelander has said it plans to treat many of its healthier ash trees.
DNR Forest Health Specialist Linda Williams says the borer’s spread is inevitable, but it is possible to slow things down.
“When emerald ash borer arrives in an area, it’s often variable as to how its impacts show up, based on how much ash is in an area, whether it shows up in a forested or urban area, and whether the folks whose property it’s on actually take some action against it.”
Williams says the spread of the borer may not be as dramatic throughout Oneida County because of the low numbers of ash trees in the region.
She says black ash swamps will be noticeable losses, since those are densely populated with clusters of ash trees.
So far only a single beetle has been found in a trap at James Williams Middle School, but the county is under quarantine and it’s illegal to move hardwood firewood outside county lines.
Landowners should check their ash trees for characteristic D-shaped holes in the bark left by the borer, as well as signs of woodpecker damage and S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark.