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Emerald Ash Borer Populations Continue Posing Safety Hazard In Indiana

A tree infected with emerald ash borer beetles

A tree infected with emerald ash borer beetles (WFIU/WTIU News)

Clifford Sadof says the only thing worse than a dead ash tree is a dead ash tree in your house.

Sadof is an entomology professor and extension specialist studying pest management at Purdue University, and he said dead ash trees are particularly dangerous. Not only are their limbs heavy, but they are only as strong as Styrofoam.

“I’ve seen some of the limbs on the dead tree just buried,” Sadof said. “They’re buried about a foot into the ground. So, if you’re walking by that, it will kill you.”

Sadof said most emerald ash borer colonies go unnoticed during the first year, with a visible increase in woodpecker holes and bark splits during April and May of the second year. The ash borer can kill a full-grown ash tree in just three years.

Owners can be proactive on small trees using commercial products, but Sadof said certified arborists are best equipped to treat large trees with insecticide injections.

“The cost of removing these small trees and replacing them is much smaller than what you would for a large tree,” Sadof said. “But when you lose a large tree, you lose the value associated with that large tree.”

The emerald ash borer has expanded to more than 30 states since first appearing in Michigan in 2002, but Sadof said Indiana’s worst days are in the past.

“It’s been around long enough to kill most of the ash trees,” Sadof said. “There’s still plenty of ash trees left, but the initial wave of destruction has already gone through most of the state.”

For more information visit eabindiana.info

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