Largest Illinois Ash Tree Treated Against Beetle
Jay Hayek says the green ash tree growing on property owned by a family in Clinton is the largest of its kind in Illinois.
The forestry specialist at the University of Illinois Extension says that makes it worth protecting against the emerald ash borer. Hayek maintains the official list of largest trees by species in the state.
The tree in Clinton was being treated Monday with a chemical designed to prevent ash borer infestation.
The 90-foot-tall tree is in Clinton about 40 miles west of Champaign.
The invasive beetle has already killed tens of millions of trees throughout the Midwest.
Warren Goetsch of the state Department of Agriculture says such treatments are too expensive to use on all ash trees but effective on those the owners really value.
Illinois' list of areas placed on quarantine for the emerald ash borer now reaches from the state's northern border down to its south-central section.
The state Department of Agriculture has expanded the quarantine with an additional 16 counties, plus new areas in two other counties. The quarantine for the tree-killing insect now affects counties in all parts of the state except western and deep southern Illinois. The emerald ash borer feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, and has devastated the trees where the insect is unchecked.
University of Illinois entomologist Phil Nixon says the quarantine tries to check the spread of the insect, by preventing the transport of wood that could carry it to new areas.
"With the quarantines, the state police have the option of stopping vehicles that are transporting wood or plant material, determine where the point of origin is and (take) options in that direction. Similarly, various campgrounds can monitor firewood and actually have some ability to refuse entrance of people who are bringing in firewood from quarantined areas."
Nixon says insecticides are available to prevent the emerald ash borer from getting established, for both commercial and home use.
"We recommend that people consider doing preventive treatment of their trees if an infestation has found within 15 miles of their locale", says NIxon.
The emerald ash borer was accidentally introduced to North America in the 1990s, and first spotted in Illinois three years ago. Nixon says woodpeckers eat the insects, and some local species of parasitic wasps have started preying on it as well --- but those have not been enough to check its spread.
New counties added to the emerald ash borer quarantine list are DeWitt, Marion, Stark, Effingham, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Fayette, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt and Shelby counties. Portions of Bureau and Marshall counties not previously included in the quarantine also were added. Counties already under quarantine are Boone, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, McLean, Ogle, Putnam, Vermilion, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.
A tree-killing beetle is inching closer to Champaign and Vermilion Counties.
Field workers recently found the emerald ash borer in about a dozen ash trees at a rest stop along I-57 near the Iroquois County town of Loda. A quarantine on bringing in firewood already impacts all or part of 21 Illinois Counties... most of them in northern and northeast Illinois. But it was extended downstate to McLean County after beetles were discovered in some trees in Bloomington two years ago. Warren Goetsch is the Illinois Department of Agriculture's bureau chief of environmental programs. He says there's a good chance those boundaries will extend to the east soon. "Just because of the way the infestations have been in Indiana - they're kind of looking at it from a national perspective," says Goetsch. "And sometimes, that big picture perspective perhaps causes us to work in some areas that maybe would have liked to have done a little differently. And so this gives us a little more confidence that we need to be doing some more trapping in East Central Illinois."
Goetsch says by telling people not to move firewood, to purchase it locally, and to burn it all when camping, they'll minimize the 'artificial' spread of the insect. Goetsch says he expects a number of ash borer traps to soon be set in Champaign and Vermilion Counties. The larvae from the green beetles burrow into the bark of ash trees, cutting off their food supply. The ash borer has killed more than 25 million ash trees in states like Michigan, Ohio and Missouri since 2002. It was first found in Illinois in northern Kane County in 2006.