Insects and disease are facts of life for the trees in our forests and over time the trees have developed resistance, or at least a tolerance, to many of them. But when a new, unfamiliar organism comes along, and those trees have no defenses, the results can be devastating. Chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, and the gypsy moth are three examples of invasive species that have seriously impacted trees in Vermont, and all three were introduced and/or transported by people. One current threat to trees in Vermont, also introduced and spread by people, is the emerald ash borer (EAB). While EAB has not officially been observed in Vermont, many consider it just a matter of time before it is found.
There are going to a lot of conversations about this little green beetle in the months and even years to come, as Weston confronts the possibility of forests without ash. Representatives from the Weston Selectboard, Conservation Commission, Road Crew, and our Tree Warden recently attended a regional workshop on EAB and strategies for dealing with infestations.
Purple traps have been hung for the last several years, with color and scents EAB finds attractive, but none have been found so far. Whether or not EAB has arrived in Weston, there are things everyone can do to prepare. One of the first is to learn more about EAB, and the Vermont Department of Forests has prepared a useful fact sheet to get started. Open a copy or download your own here:
With such high mortality, it is important to identify where our ash trees are and how many we have that will pose hazards to utilities, infrastructure and people as they decline. Using the same platform The Field Guide to Weston is built on, the Weston, VT Ash Tree Survey aims to show the distribution and densities of ash trees in Weston. Anyone can contribute to the survey by uploading pictures of ash trees, filling in some information and “pinning” the location on the map. See our Field Guide to Weston page for more on using this system. Stay tuned for more on ash trees and the emerald ash borer in our area and remember, EAB can travel 65 miles per hour!