Tag Archives: emerald ash borer

Only in Ohio…

Ever since I went off to college in 1980 (now you can all figure out how old I am!), I’ve talked to my mom nearly every Sunday night. It all started because the dorms at Ohio State had a phone that could only be used to make local out-going calls, no long distance. Yes, this was way before cell phones became so popular! In order to make sure I was there when she called, Mom and I settled on a time of 7pm for her to call. The time might change, but on Sunday night, Mom and I usually talk on the phone.

Picture by Scott Heckel, The Canton Repository, Sunday, July 15, 2012.

This last Sunday, when my mom called, she was so excited about an article that she had read in the Canton Repository, her local paper. When I heard her story, I was excited, too. It seems that the world’s largest magnolia acuminata, or cucumber tree, is located in northeast Ohio in a gated community in North Canton, Ohio, just down the road from my mom’s house in Louisville. She read about the tree in the paper and knew I’d be interested. After I got over my shock of there being a gated community in North Canton (and if you are familiar with the area, you will understand my wonder), I asked Mom to tell me more. This magnificent tree is a whopping 432 years old, stands 94 feet tall, and has a circumference of 290 inches. That means it’s about as tall as a 9-story building, and the picture shows that it took seven men to circle it. So that tree started out its life in the year 1580. In that year, the Billy Mitchell volcano on the island of Bougainville had a catastrophic eruption and Henry I, the King of Portugal, died with no direct heirs, causing a secession crisis. Strangely enough, I have read so much about WWII battles on the island of Bouganiville and don’t recall hearing about an volcano. Learn something new everyday!

Also, while at the Glen Echo Birthday Party, I saw an ash tree that had been killed by the emerald ash borer. The amount of damage that those beetles did was amazing, such devastation that I took a picture of it. I read in The Dispatch that ash trees are very important to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve. They provide shade for several species of Ohio orchids and flowers, both common or rare and endangered. In order to fight the borer, non-stinging wasps are being released in the bog. Three species are being released that attack the beetles in different stages of their lives. It’s hopeful that these wasps will be able to save future trees as some trees are already showing signs of damage.

Finally, who would have thought that there is a race in Cincinnati that asks participants to swim across the Ohio River? I would never have thought that possible. Because of the Clean Water Act, the Ohio River is in much better shape than ever. It’s called the Great Ohio River Swim and is taking place today.

And only in Clintonville…

I saw this little girl on Indianola, as I was walking back from the thrift store…someone walking along behind me said that she has seen two chickens around the area for the past two weeks or so. Chicken Little was looking for her meal and managed to make a snack out of an ant or two. I told her she would be famous in my blog!

Until next time!



Only in Ohio indeed!


More Trees for the Arboretum

Last week some flatbed trucks carefully made their way through our street with some rather large trees on the back. I didn’t really take much note other than thinking that someone was getting some trees planted nearby. Well, it turns out that nearby was in the Arboretum.

I don’t know if you recall the process that was used to get the trees planted in the Arboretum. The curb lawns were measured, each treeless spot noted as well as the size of the tree that could be planted marked down. We had a few medium trees that weren’t filled in because there were none to be had. The city’s tree contractor planted those remaining 50 medium class trees in the wide curb lawns over the past several days.  The species planted were Ohio buckeye and sassafras.  I think we now have the highest concentration of Ohio Buckeyes per square foot in the entire city. Pete, of course, has buckeye envy because our little buckeye in the backyard didn’t flower this year while those planted by the city are in full bloom. In any case, our thanks to the City Columbus and the City Forrester for giving us such wonderful, native trees!

The Buckeye nuts will provide food for squirrels, while the flowers will provide food for hummingbirds. Pioneers carried a buckeye seed in their pockets to ward off rheumatism, something I might test out as I get older and my joints get creakier. The state champion tree (the largest specimen in Ohio) for the Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) is located in Huron County and stands 77 feet tall. That’s a photo of the tree to the left. The buckeye trees are one of the first to put out leaves in the spring and one of the first to lose their leaves in the fall. I always try to find at least one buckeye each year to keep on my desk at work for the Ohio State football season. Sometimes it brings good luck – other times it doesn’t!

The sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum) was important to Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee, who used the leaves, roots and bark for medicinal, food and construction purposes. Birds and other wildlife feed on the sassafras fruit. Butterflies are attracted to its flowers and also use the leaves as a host for caterpillars. Among the species of butterflies that are attracted to the sassafras are the spicebush butterfly and the tiger swallow-tail. And Pete assures me that the fall color will be spectacular. Along with the black gum, our little Arboretum will be quite the place to walk around in the fall.

On a sadder note, most of the ash trees around our neighborhood have fallen victim to the emerald ash borer. We have one ash tree in our yard that is fine so far (knock on wood). We are going to try our best to keep it healthy. As these trees are removed, we will plant new ones it their place.

Until next time.

Trees in the News

After one week of being sick followed by another week of ending up in bed by 8.30pm at the latest, I feel that I am back on the road to recovery. Milestones in that road are measured by the number of cough drops or tissues needed to get me through the day. I’ve hardly a use for any, which is much better than my box per day average a few weeks ago.

This cold weather does much to show all the outside air making its way in to our house through various means. Pete has done a lot to insulate the house, but our windows are the kind with weight pockets, which just seem to be an invitation for chilly air to enter our home at will. A while ago, when it was much warmer, I went outside to look at the garden to see if anything was popping from the many flower bulbs we have around. There were some sprouts, but I am thinking that the little bulbs that have stuck their tiny green fingers through the soil were wishing for some mittens! I hope they haven’t been damaged too much by the snow and freezing temperatures.

I read an article in the January-February 2012 edition of Ohio State’s alumni magazine about our aging forests in the Upper Great Lakes region. These forests remove tons of carbon from the air. But as these forests get older, Ohio State scientists are studying how the new trees are doing at handling the job of removing carbon. Seems these new additions are doing a great job, being more diverse and complex. You can read more here about the forests.

Speaking of Ohio State, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster has been working on creating a hybrid ash tree that isn’t as tasty to the emerald ash borer. If I got the science down right, there are proteins in some Asian ash trees that aren’t tolerated by the emerald ash borer. Scientists are trying to pull out the DNA from those proteins to find the toxins that are repellent to ash borers. From there, a hybrid tree could possibly be created that has that specific DNA and toxins. Hopefully, a tree that looks like our North American ash tree and can also withstand the emerald ash borer is in the works. I’m not certain how I feel about a hybrid ash tree, but if that seems to be the only way to keep ash trees in Ohio, then so be it.

Another insect that is now in Ohio is the Asian longhorned beetle. This little creature in not picky at all about which trees it likes to attack. It will eat ash, birch, elm, hackberry, poplar and willow, to name a few. The worst part about this insect is it attacks healthy trees, unlike native beetles that feed on dead and dying trees.  Maples seem to be this beetles’ favorite snack. Look for deep exit holes in healthy trees about the size of a dime. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has a number homeowners can call is they suspect an infected tree: 513/381-7180. There is also information on ODA’s website.

Until next time!