Share This Page

Sewickley ash trees succumb to green beetle

| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

More than 10 years since first being discovered in the United States, the emerald ash borer continues to wreak havoc on ash trees in Pennsylvania and across the continent.

In Sewickley, borough Manager Kevin Flannery said several trees need to be removed because of infestation and destruction caused by the half-inch-long metallic-green beetle.

“It's sad we are starting to see four or five ash trees that are going to have to go,” Flannery said. “We've spent a lot of time and money trying to save them.”

Emerald ash borers feed on ash trees in North America. Millions of trees have been estimated to have been killed by the creature.

Its formal name is Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or DCNR, reports the insect has been found in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In Windsor, Ontario, city leaders removed 6,000 public ash trees — or 9 percent of the city's urban tree canopy — after a 2002 discovery of the emerald ash borer, according to a community-management resource document on DCNR's website. The Windsor plan cost $4 million.

“By 2010, only an estimated 5 percent of ash trees were still alive, with most infested with (emerald ash borer),” the document said. “Over 1 million ash trees are estimated to have died in Windsor and surrounding Essex County, including most of the endangered pumpkin ash.”

In Sewickley, Flannery said borough staff continue watching the insect's effects on ash trees.

“It's kind of disappointing,” he said. “It's a shame because about five years before the emerald ash borer was known in Pennsylvania, we planted 47 beautiful ash trees on Chadwick Street.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.