Indiana DNR works to save ash trees

Indiana DNR works to save ash trees
Description of the Emerald Ash Borer. (Source: Purdue University)
Description of the Emerald Ash Borer. (Source: Purdue University)
Philip Marshall (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Philip Marshall (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - The Emerald Ash Borer has been wreaking havoc on ash trees in Indiana for more than a decade. But with a new plan by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources there just might be hope for those trees.
For the past 13 years, there has been a silent war going on inside ash trees in the state of Indiana.

"I keep track of where the advancing front of Ash trees dying from Emerald Ash Borer are in the state of Indiana," said Philip Marshall, a forest health specialist with Indiana DNR.
Marshall is a guardian of sorts of these ash trees. Through an initiative, he's looking to save the trees that are fighting what seems like an uphill battle.
"We had a seed source, mom and dad protected, when the wave of EAB moves through the area and kills all the surrounding trees," Marshall said. "We wanted to protect that seed origin."
Making sure that Ash trees don't go through a complete wipeout, Marshall is working with his team to prevent. The unfortunate thing is that the EAB cannot be completely eradicated. Marshall likens it to living with a manageable chronic illness while waiting for the storm to pass.
"All the EAB has killed the ash, there's no food really left to help support them," Marshall said. "We can treat them again and protect them and carry them on through."
The treatment works like a vaccine. It is injected into a tree worth saving.
"That has the ability to kill the larvae that are under the bark of the tree," Marshall explained.

With preservation and prevention, Indiana waits until the coast is clear to hopefully restart the ash tree population. Until that time comes, Marshall is asking people to be mindful.

"When you move trees, plants, firewood and anything related to the plant industry in the United States, you are potentially spreading a disease," Marshall said.

If you have an ash tree you think is worth saving that hasn't been fully infested with EAB, Marshall suggests you call a professional arborist to supply injections to your tree.
Currently, without the impact of humans on the infestation, EAB spreads at a rate of about five miles per year.

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