Thursday, August 19, 2010

Urban Trees: It's Not Just Dutch Elm Disease

"St. Paul Removing More Ash Trees"
FOX9 (August 17, 2010)

"St. Paul forestry crews are removing around two hundred ash trees in the city's Highland Park area. Crews are trying to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect known for spreading like wildfire and killing ash trees. The trees here are not believed to be infested with EAB, but many of them are unhealthy and easy targets for the insect.

"Jenny Mertha snapped a few photos to capture the green canopy, above Hamline Avenue in St. Paul. The ash trees along her boulevard are set to be cut down. Mertha said, 'It is a big part of the character when you drive down Hamline.'

"Since crews first spotted the ash borer back in St. Paul's St. Anthony Park neighborhood the Spring of 2009, workers have chopped down 800 public ash trees. The city hopes to remove and replace a total of 1,100 by next year...."

Here in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, it's mostly elm trees that get tagged for removal: we're near the front of the Dutch elm disease wave. The lesson, as I see it, is that as permanent as trees seem: they're growing organisms that will eventually die and need to be replaced.


Attack of the Alien Squirrels!

"Squirrels blamed for damage to Olympia oak trees"
John Dodge, The Olympian, Seattlepi (August 18, 2010)

"Saving the imperiled Garry oak trees found on the prairies and oak woodlands of South Sound may require a new attitude toward non-native eastern gray squirrels, according to Sound arborist Ray Gleason.

"Gleason, owner of Cascade Tree Experts, has found several examples of Garry oaks in the Black Lake area south of Tumwater filled with dead, small-diameter branches.

"The culprits appear to be eastern gray squirrels, flocking to the trees to eat gall wasp larvae known to infest oak trees.

"The squirrels strip the bark off the branches in search of the larvae. In some cases, they're doing enough damage to threaten the long-term health of the native oak trees, Gleason said.

"Gleason wants to get the following message out to the public, especially those who feed eastern gray squirrels in their backyards:

" 'If you want to save the oak trees, you need to stop feeding and encouraging the squirrels,' he said...."

What's with that "alien squirrels" in my heading? Those eastern gray squirrels aren't native to the Seattle area.

Looks like folks in the Seattle area have a tough choice: save the trees, or feed the squirrels. It's not as easy as it may seem: those nibblers are appealing, engaging little critters.

That top trees.

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