Ash Borers Declare Victory Over U.S. ForestsEmerald Ash Borers are likely to kill 99 percent of the U.S. ash wood trees, says the U.S. Forest Service.

Hopes that the super cold winter might kill or at least slow the insects have proved unfounded. Quarantines of infested areas have now spread to 22 states as of June 2014.

Andrew Liebhold, an entomologist at the U.S. Forest Service, says "Ninety-nine percent of the ashes in North America are probably going to die," according to a New York Times report, though the decimation will likely vary by species. Black ash and green ash are most likely to disappear, but the Ash Borer will spare 30-40% or more of the blue ash, and 20-30% of the white ash.

Ash Borers Declare Victory Over U.S. ForestsThe emerald ash borer was first discovered as the cause of extensive ash tree deaths throughout southeastern Michigan in June 2002. It is believed the borer entered Michigan from China at least 15 years ago, presumably from solid wood packing materials or dunnage used to transport manufactured goods.

The Ash Borer was later found in at least 13 states and Ontario, Canada as the beetles flew, or aided by human transport of infested ash firewood, logs, lumber, and nursery stock. One example: Ash Borer-infested nursery stock from Michigan was illegally sold to a nursery in Prince George, MD then sold in Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia in 2003.

Attention is now turning to using lumber from the trees killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Southeast Michigan Research Conservation and Development (RC&D) Ash Utilization Options Project funded a demonstration project using Emerald Ash Borer wood at the Ann Arbor Traverwood Branch Library. Harvested ash trees from the building site were milled into flooring, wall and ceiling paneling, and shelving. Some of the harvested trees were used intact as support beams and columns.

In an Urbanwood Project, small businesses recovered serviceable logs from landscape tree removals and manufactured them as lumber and flooring for the Southeast Michigan Reclaimed Wood Marketplace. A PDF guide to use of infested ash logs has been published by the USDA. (In April 2015, WoodworkingNetwork will co-sponsor an urban wood conference in Chicago.)

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