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New Campaign Fights To Preserve Indiana’s Ash Trees

Holes where the emerald ash borer has infected a tree at Indiana State University.

A new Indiana Parks Alliance initiative will help preserve the state’s ash trees.

The IPA projects that the mortality rate for ash trees infested with the emerald ash borer will reach 95% within the next decade. The beetles drill into the tree near the roots, disrupting the flow of nutrients causing the tree to slowly die.

But a special insecticide can be injected into the base of the tree to prevent the beetles from invading, according to IPA President Tom Hohman.

It costs about $200 to treat a single tree with the insecticide for three years. The IPA is hoping to raise $20,000 – enough money to treat about 100 trees.

Hohman says the IPA will be selective, choosing trees from a variety of locations around the state.

“Any tree that’s lived 200 years or so, kind of deserves a chance to live a few more years so we can enjoy them,” Hohman says. “And they’re our seed source for the next generation once this wave of the attack passes.”

Hohman says he hopes ash trees will eventually develop a way to fight off the beetles.

Ash trees currently make up between 10 and 20 percent of diversity of tree species in Indiana forests.

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