Yesterday a good friend of mine who works for a well respected tree company in town asked me whether I would be willing to talk about tree conservation as it relates to the emerald ash borer. Specifically he wanted me to make people aware of a statement produced by a group called the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation which you can find here which was produced by a number of well respected industry people and academics. This statement basically says that we shouldn’t cut down all of our ash out of fear of the emerald ash borer but that we should, instead, treat some with various insecticides to conserve our ash.
I don’t have any major disagreement with the article, but it’s important to remember that every situation is different and that, while chemical treaments might be appropriate for one ash, another should hit the chipper. As the emerald ash borer moves across the country we’ve got to assess what our ash are worth to us and decide when and where it’s appropriate to save them. This is an extremely daunting task without easy answers. The statement by the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation is good and very appropriate, but what would be even better is a guide to help people decide whether to leave trees alone, to cut them down, or to treat including all of the costs and consequences.
UPDATE: As you might have expected, there is already a cost calculator out there — I just wasn’t aware of it. Fortunately Katie was and left details in the comments section. If you are interested in a calculation to figure out the cost of treating vs. removing ash go here http://www.ag.purdue.edu/entm/Pages/csadof.aspx and then click on EAB cost calculator — it’s on the left hand side. It’s a very nice little tool!