Thursday, 11 August 2016

Tiny Asian beetle wreaking havoc on North America's ash trees

August 9, 2016 by Nova Safo

The Emerald Ash Borer targets the ash tree, a common variety in Midwestern US cities, where the tree can survive cramped sidewalks, harsh winters and road salts

Over the next two years, grounds crews in St. Louis will cut down nearly one out of every five trees, altering the US city's leafy landscape for at least a generation.

The Midwestern metropolis made the tough decision with the knowledge that if it does not cut down the trees, most will quickly die.

St. Louis is the latest victim of the Emerald Ash Borer, an Asian beetle smaller than a penny, which emigrated from China via shipping materials and is destroying millions of trees in North America.

The insect targets the Ash tree—a common variety in Midwestern cities, where the tree can survive cramped sidewalks, harsh winters and road salts used to keep streets clear of ice and snow.

In St. Louis, city forestry commissioner Skip Kincaid is tasked with dealing with the invasive pest and the destruction it is expected to cause in the next few years.

"I'm trying as best I can to enlighten the public about how devastating it is going to be," Kincaid said.

To head off the Emerald Ash Borer's advance, Kincaid will cut down almost all of the city's 14,000 Ash trees—or roughly 17 percent of all trees—over the next two years.

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