A New Threat to Ash Trees in Georgia

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As if the Pines, Hemlocks, and American Chestnut trees are not enough, now there is a new threat in Georgia to another species of trees: the Ash tree. Pines in Georgia struggle with the Southern Pine Beetle, Hemlocks face the hemlock wooly adelgid, Chestnuts have been ravaged by the chestnut blight, and now Ash trees are facing the Emerald Ash Beetle.
 
The Emerald Ash Beetle (EAB) was originally found in early 2002 in Detroit, Michigan. A non-native species, the EAB is vivid green in color and extremely destructive to all types of Ash trees. If the EAB spreads through Georgia it could damage millions of dollars’ worth of trees in urban and community forests. The total stumpage value of ash throughout the state is estimated to exceed $1.125 billion, even though Ash makes up less than 1% of Georgia’s forests.
 
The EAB is widely eaten by woodpeckers, and in some locations an increase in EAB also has spurred an increase in woodpecker populations. Locations around the U.S. that have confirmed infestations of the EAB are typically quarantined, meaning no firewood or unprocessed ash wood products are allowed to move out of the quarantined areas. DeKalb and Fulton Counties have been proposed as potential quarantine areas. Though these restrictions have not been put in place yet, they will be in the near future.
 
Ash wood is often used in baseball bats, bows, tool handles, and other products where its strength and elasticity provide durability and resilience.
 
Finding the right course of action to prevent further loss of Ash trees as well as halt the spread of the EAB is a top priority. It can take 2-3 years for signs of infestation of the EAB to appear in Ash trees and 3-5 years for the tree to fully die. Become educated and aware of all of the species that threaten Georgia’s trees!
 
See this website for more information on how to prevent the EAB from spreading: http://stopthebeetle.info/