Invasive Species

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Ash trees disappearing across Pennsylvania

"The outlook is grim, but not hopeless."

"The emerald ash borer has devastated a research plot of 2,100 ash trees at the edge of Penn State's University Park. Kim Steiner, currently director of The Arboretum at Penn State, in 1978 planted seeds from green ash trees to understand how species adapt to their environments. The ash plantation is the largest collection of green ash germplasm at one location in the world and could play a significant role in saving the species."

"We have about 15 trees remaining that show little or no die-back from emerald ash borer," Steiner said. "They look pretty healthy, and we know that most of them have been attacked because they have exit holes where the adults have emerged after feeding on the inner bark."

"Any level of genetic-based resistance could be something to build on to save the species, she said."

"Penn State molecular geneticist John Carlson is looking at the genetic mechanisms by which surviving trees might be battling the insects. He has seen some biochemical or genetic responses. He and Steiner have been talking with DCNR officials about planting Penn State's lingering ash trees on state forest lands and in private forests."

"Some trees inoculated with eggs from the ash borer actually seem to kill beetle larvae, according to research by Jennifer Koch at the U.S. Forest Service Laboratory in Delaware, Ohio."

"DCNR plans to treat about 200 trees across Pennsylvania's 20 state forest districts, try biological controls at 10 sites and protect three seed orchards."

Kiss your ash trees goodbye … unless you treat now

"The emerald ash borer is an Asian native that likely rode wooden packing materials to America. It was first discovered destroying ash trees in Michigan in 2002. Since then, it's moved mostly south and east by firewood and flight, killing tens of millions of all species of ash trees in 20 states. The first ones showed up in central Pennsylvania in 2012. The alarming part is that the emerald ash borer is so devastating that it's expected to kill nearly 100 percent of ash trees within four to five years."

"Many municipalities, power companies and tree-owners already are cutting down ashes pre-emptively. It's too expensive to chemically protect masses of ash trees, and if you wait until they're failing, they became fall hazards and much more expensive to remove. (Brittle dead and dying ash trees are more hazardous for tree companies to work on than healthy, solid ones.)"

"Do you ignore the coming threat, figuring you'll pay later if necessary while hoping the tree doesn't fall down in the meantime? Do you bite the bullet and pay a few hundred dollars now to remove a tree that might look fine? Or do you invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars for unknown years of treatments to save your ash from the borers? The most effective treatment is an insecticide called emamectin benzoate, which tree companies can inject into the trunk of ash trees every two years."

How Kudzu, “The Vine That Ate The South,” Put Southern Agriculture On The Skids – Modern Farmer.

Most people assume that kudzu, The Vine that Ate the South, was somehow “accidentally” introduced from Asia. In fact, it was touted as a miracle cure by the government for healing the south’s ailing soil.

A little botanical investigation reveals why. Kudzu is a legume, and like most legumes, it deposits nitrogen in the soil as it grows, which other plants can then use. It grows profusely even in bone-dry infertile conditions, producing tons of organic matter per acre with its voluminous biomass. Plus, livestock of all kinds will eat the foliage, which is as rich in protein as alfalfa, offering a way to make the landscape instantly productive again.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Soil Conservation Service grew 70 million kudzu seedlings and began distributing them to farmers, free of charge. To encourage participation in their ill-advised experiment, government agents travelled the back roads preaching the virtues of the plant and offering $8 per acre to grow it. A newspaper columnist named Channing Cope became the wonder-crop’s chief evangelist. “The healing touch of the miracle vine,” he wrote in the Atlanta Constitution, would make the South’s farms “live again.” Cope spearheaded the Kudzu Club of America, which boasted a membership of 20,000 at its peak in the mid-1940s.

NYIS – Agricultural Invasive Species.

Some of these agricultural invasive species are well known in NY State and others not as well known outside of the farming community.

Also check out all of NY Invasive Information website, as there are a variety of invasive that are slowly but certainly transforming the landscape.

I still remember the Elm Trees out back, but they are long gone from Dutch Elm disease. A few Elm Trees have survived where I now live, but they are pretty rare.