Here's a heads up about ash, in case you don't keep up on your invasive news.
There's a lovely little metallic-green beetle coming our way, only a half inch long, but big trouble. It was in western New York and now is in the Catskills, a little green alien that probably traveled to Michigan about 15 years ago from China. The larvae are presumed to have been in wooden shipping pallets.
There are 900 million white, black and green ash trees in New York State, but there won't be for very long. It is too late to do anything much about the Emerald Ash Borer, and where they strike, they kill every ash usually within two or three years. Fifty million have already died in the midwest. It may take 10 years to cause the complete devastation of ashes here in New York, unless native wasps that attack the larvae can be bred and released very quickly. Chemical treatment may save a few valued trees, but it will be expensive and will have to be done for years. ("Mountain ash" is not really ash and is not vulnerable.)
Ashes are only 7 percent of our forests, so that leaves plenty of species to fill in. But in the meantime, there will be a need for quick removal of hazard trees in public places. Luckily for us in the Adirondacks, we did not plant ashes along streets in the monocultures that many downstate towns did, to replace their dead elms. This time maybe arborists will hedge their bets by using many different species.
Foresters are suggesting townspeople go around roads and other public places with their GPS soon and locate every ash that will be a problem when it dies. (Geocachers, how about taking this project on?) Then town boards need to budget the money to pay for taking down some dead trees every year for a while. Laws might need to be enacted to allow for removing hazardous trees from private property along roads if, as in the case in a resort area like ours, the owners are not available to give their permission. Better yet would be that all owners give their permission ahead of time to towns for removal of dead ashes that will die.
In the Adirondacks we have thousands of miles of trails which will need to be cleared of more than the normal number of deadfalls. We hikers should also note where there are heavy stands of magnificent ashes, which now add to the beauty of the forest and indicate rich soil that often supports certain well-loved flowers and mushrooms. Trail builders should be pro-active and avoid areas with many ashes. Hundreds of miles of new "connector" snowmobile trails are now going to be built and while snowshoers and skiers can get around downed trees, snowmobiles cannot.
Clues an ash tree has been attacked by EAB are dead branches at the top of the tree; short leafy shoots coming from the trunk; and "D shaped" exit holes made when the larva matures and leaves the tree looking for a mate. Woodlot owners may want to harvest their ash while they are healthy, but the market will soon be saturated. The one good thing about the loss of this well-loved tree is that tree removal businesses will have a field day!
The other new invasive alien is pretty spectacular - the Asian Long-horned Beetle. It is black and white spotted with huge striped antennae, and about an inch long. It leaves oval to round pits in the bark chewed out by the female, where she lays one egg. The larvae then dig into the tree to feed, leaving oozing spots especially visible on maples, unfortunately a favorite genus. Piles of coarse sawdust can accumulate in branch axils. Round holes, up to a half inch in diameter, are where the adult beetle exits. This insect is still being fought off by scientists in New York, but it is in surrounding states.
It is critical to not move firewood to control both of these beetles. Google this and the EAB for pictures and the latest information on where they are.