Ash tree devastation up dramatically in Lorain, Erie counties as emerald ash borer moves east

5 years later, emerald ash borer devastation seen

SHEFFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio - As you drive west on Interstate 90 into Lorain County, you can the tree devastation.

Thousands of leafless, dead and rotting ash trees in the woods and backyards stand out against lush green pines and thriving oaks.

The emerald ash borers that cause all of the destruction recently showed up in Akron and Canton. But while trees are starting to show signs of stress and thinning leaves in those areas, entire swaths of ash trees are being wiped out by the acre in Lorain and Erie counties.

That's because it takes about five years for the emerald ash borer to kill a tree by eating the tree's nutrients and water supply.

The invasive beetle hitched a ride on cargo ships from Asia traveling to the Great Lakes and spread from Michigan to Ohio.

There are acres of dead wood on Abbe Road near French Creek in Sheffield, and more dead trees off of Oak Point Road north of Route 2 in Amherst.

Tim Malinich with the Ohio State University Extension office in Erie County said it can be difficult to save your ash trees because once you've noticed the tree's canopy thinning, the tree is well on its way to dying.

There are sprays you can buy to treat the trees, but because the beetle attacks under the bark, you need to treat not just the trunk. Treating the higher branches can be an almost impossible task.

If you're going to hire a tree service because they have the equipment to reach all of the branches, you can ask if they have a certified arborist.

Malinich said to get three estimates and ask for references.

But he said the best thing to do would be to plant a new different variety of tree to spruce up your landscape and eventually have the infested ash tree removed. The dead trees eventually fall in storms, he said.

While the Emerald Ash Borer is bad enough, it can get worse.

The Asian longhorn beetle has found its way to southern Ohio via ships. So far that beetle has been contained near Cincinnati, but if it's able to reach other parts of the state, the results could be devastating.

The longhorn beetle destroys oaks, maples and poplars.

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