Magazine article American Forests

Developing Ash Borer-Resistant Trees

Magazine article American Forests

Developing Ash Borer-Resistant Trees

Article excerpt

The emerald ash borer (EAB), an Asian beetle, has been a threat to ash trees in North America since its introduction in the early 90s, the extent of its damage comparable even to that of the infamous Dutch elm disease or chestnut blight. Given free reign, the EAB could wipe out the country's entire population of ash. The species of tree is used in a number of different fields, including landscaping and the manufacturing of baseball bats.

The adult beetle feeds on the foliage of ash trees, but causes minimal damage. It is the beetle's larvae that pose the real threat. They feed on the inner bark of the ash tree, which disturbs the tree's natural ability to transport water and nutrients, and causes it to die a slow death by starvation. Dan Herms, an entomologist with Ohio Agricultural Research and Development center, has suggested the development of a type of ash tree that is resistant to the beetle's attacks. He has teamed up with plant pathologist Enrico Bonello, entomologist David Smitley, and biologists Donald apollini and Jennifer Koch in order to determine the best way to develop EAB-resistant trees. …

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