Emerald Ash Borer threatens local ash trees

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Beetle species moving west; said to kill ash trees within 3 to 5 years of infestation

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is a green beetle native to Asia. It is an invasive species, responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees in North America.

The Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is a green beetle native to Asia. It is an invasive species, responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees in North America.

POCOPSON — While the stink bug has been a much-despised recent addition to the local insect scene, the Emerald Ash Borer routinely proves deadly to ash trees, a state official recently told township officials — and it’s coming to southeast Pennsylvania.

Dr. Donald Eggen, from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), attended a recent township Board of Supervisors meeting to help officials plan for the imminent arrival of the invasive beetle chomping its way east across the state.

Eggen recommends officials perform a complete survey of township properties, “if you want to protect historical (ash) trees, start now,” because once the beetle is detected, it takes just 3-5 years before the trees are dead. Eggen said the Emerald Ash Borer is an “insect like he has never seen before, from a liability standpoint” because when the Ash dies, “its wood becomes brittle and can come down and cause a lot of damage” to property or even people.

The Bureau of Forestry can train volunteers to identify species of Ash tree located on township property and along township trails which could pose a liability, he told officials. Once the information is in hand, the township can develop a plan, tally the cost and then make decisions about which trees to treat and save.

Although the Emerald Ash Borer only attacks species of Ash trees – it has a 99% mortality rate – making it a good idea for private homeowners to survey their own properties.

For more information, pick up a brochure at the township office, located at 740 Denton Hollow Road.

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The Barnard House Steering Committee is trying to obtain grant funding to complete the outside parking lot and park surrounding the historic structure. Former township supervisor Larissa McNemar, who has spent nearly one hundred hours of volunteer time researching grant funding, told supervisors an opportunity exists through the state Department of Natural Resources for up to $250,000, and could be used toward rehabilitating the 61 acres of designated park property.

Supervisors voted to support the application for the grant and approved releasing up to $2,200 from the Barnard House budget to alter plans that have to be submitted in the process. McNemar said the same plans can be used for future grant applications.

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Supervisors agreed to draft a letter in support of neighboring Kennett Township’s objection to tearing down the Longwood Cottages located along US-1. Longwood Gardens would like to demolish the structures, which are no longer used to house employees, to make way for a meadow.  Kennett Township maintains that the structures are of historical significance.

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