Aug 01 2010

Oh No!!

Published by at 7:35 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs,Schenley Park,Trees

In May I often walked to work through the heart of Schenley Park to get my morning dose of birds.  As I always do I took notes on what I saw — long lists of birds with asterisks for new arrivals.

On May 6 my notebook has nine short words with a circle around them, “Found nearly dead ash tree.  Possible EAB.  Oh no!”

“EAB” is shorthand for emerald ash borer, a deadly bug that has wiped out North American ash trees since it arrived in Michigan in 2002.  Other than treating single trees with systemic pesticide there is nothing that can stop this bug.  It spells doom for parks and forests.

I learned the signs of EAB from April Claus on a January walk through Sewickley Heights Park, so I was pretty sure of my diagnosis.  But someone more skilled than me needed to investigate.

It took me a week to tell an expert because I left town on a five-day birding trip.  When I returned I kept an eye out for people working in the park.  As it turns out the first person I found was one of the two best people to tell:  Phil Gruszka, Director of Park Management and Maintenance for the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy and a certified arborist.

He teamed up with City Forester David Jahn (the other best person to tell) and they looked through the park and took bark samples from several trees.  News of their efforts appeared here under “Eagle Eyes in Schenley Park” on the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy blog.

Months passed.  I didn’t think about emerald ash borers.  Then last weekend I found another tree with even more striking symptoms and emailed Phil with the location of this new tree.  He wrote back, “We are confirming it in many locations now.  Schenley Park is hard hit, Riverview Park is not far behind.”

Oh no!  Schenley Park’s ash trees are doomed.  Oh so sad!

(photo of an Emerald Ash Borer, with size reference and trunk damage, from the Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Click the photo to see its original in context.)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Oh No!!”

  1. Kathyon 01 Aug 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Kate, it is *horribly* sad. I’m sorry.

  2. TJon 02 Aug 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Not just the park, but pretty much the whole city…

  3. Bobon 09 Aug 2010 at 7:48 am


    Here’s an article from a Chicago area newspaper about some things that they are trying to do to attack the Emerald Ash Borer and mitigate its damage.

    I don’t know if the Pittsburgh arborists are aware that other approaches are being tried to save the attacked trees.

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