HARRISBURG, Pa., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Methods to combat an invasive beetle proving deadly to Pennsylvania's ash trees will be showcased April 27 at an Arbor Day celebration at West Chester's Hoopes Park, where no less than 75 stately ash trees grace the grounds.
"For the past 23 years, West Chester's dedication to trees has earned it an annual Arbor Day Tree City U.S.A. Award," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan. "It is this longstanding commitment to trees that now has the borough working closely with our Bureau of Forestry to combat the emerald ash borer and develop a management plan for the insect pest."
Arbor Day activities will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Hoopes Park pavilion off West Ashbridge Street, West Chester. Bureau officials will present the borough's Tree City U.S.A. Award, outline its emerald ash borer management plan, and demonstrate how property owners can combat the insect.
"We salute West Chester's staunch support of the green canopy that enhances that borough and we commend its pro-active stand to plan against what can be a lethal threat to the borough's abundant ash trees," Allan said. "Most recently, the emerald ash borer surfaced just two months ago in nearby in Bucks County, and now is reported in 23 of our 67 counties."
The emerald ash borer management plan reflects input from the borough, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the Bureau of Forestry and its William Penn State Forest District, headquartered at French Creek State Park, Berks County. Its keystone for success is the municipal inventory of ash trees and possible infestation sites.
"West Chester's Tree City award and the presentation site, with its abundance of ash trees, present an excellent venue for us to roll out the EAB management plan, which, hopefully, others communities will embrace," said Dr. Donald Eggen, bureau forest health manager. "We will be discussing the plan and the insect, and there will be a demonstration on how trees can be treated with a systemic insecticide -- we'll be using water, not the actual insecticide."
Since the emerald ash borer first was detected in June 2007 in Cranberry Township, Butler County, the bureau has worked cooperatively with the state Department of Agriculture to track and contain its spread. Efforts include placement of purple panel traps along roadways in Eastern Pennsylvania; release of parasitoid wasps; removal of infested trees; application of systemic insecticides; and distribution of outreach and education materials to communities.
Ash species compose less than four percent of Pennsylvania's forests, or about 308 million trees, and most are located in the state's northern tier counties. It especially is valued in the manufacture of baseball bats.
Native to Asia, the emerald ash borer first was detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. Beetle larvae bore through ash trees, feeding on the inner bark and phloem, disrupting flow of water and nutrients through the tree, and causing their eventual death.
Tree owners fearing infestation should be alert for the May and early June emergence of adult insects through D-shaped exit holes in the bark. Others signs include dieback, woodpecker damage, and frequent, irregular branching from the main trunk.
Details on West Chester's Tree City Award U.S.A. can be found at http://www.west-chester.com/tree.php.
Information on the emerald ash borer and other Pennsylvania forest pests can be found at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/insectsdisease/index.htm.
Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources