Danger, Will Robinson!

There are aliens amongst us!


Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)


Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB)

The Greene County Extension Service and the Xenia Tree Committee have joined together to provide information to the public  on late-year Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) treatment and decision making and  also provide information on the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) in Ohio. 

Presenters include Thais Reiff, OSU Certified EAB Specialist and Greene County Master Gardener and David Renz, Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer with the US Department of Agriculture, Animal, and Plant Health Inspection Service (AAPHIS). 

The event will be held 6:30-7:30 pm, Monday, September 30th in the Fireside Room of the Xenia Nazarene Church, 1204 W. 2nd St., Xenia OH 45385.

Both of these pests were imported from other countries. The EAB discovered in Ohio in 2003 is known to be in 70 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The EAB kills ash trees within 3-5 years of discovery. Reiff will be sharing information on how to make the decision once EAB is discovered in your ash trees.  Should the tree be removed or will it be cost effective to consider treatment alternatives.

Renz has been very active in the ALB inspections throughout Ohio and will discuss how the ALB is being managed in Ohio.  In June 2011, the first ALB invasion was discovered in Ohio.  The ALB attacks several varieties of trees unlike the EAB which only affects the Ash tree.

This program is free and open to the public.  If you have questions please contact the Greene County Extension Office at 937-372-9971.

Vengeance is Mine!

This post will be short and sweet. Remember the aforementioned invasive Amur honeysuckle  (Lonciera maackii) fence row? Well, it is no more. After chopping on it with bare hands, lopper, and a sawsall for 7 weeks, a chain saw came in and felled the rest of the giants. Mind you, some of these shrubs/trees were so large I could climb them like a schoolgirl – and I did; all the while using a saw/sawsall 6 feet off the ground. The neighbors thought, rightly so, that I was crazy. We’re waiting on the debris to be removed and the stumps to be ground out. The largest stump is nearly 5 feet in circumference.

This is more or less what the fencerow looked like though my bushes were MUCH older and larger.

One of the 20 year old stumps. We have a handful of these.

Six foot tall piles of brush - about 20' of it.

And a cord of wood.....

As I said, vengeance is mine! Some of that honeysuckle lumber now edges my garden.

Fencerow folly

When we built our house in 1992, we had a fencerow that separated our backyard from the 5-acre home lot behind us. Nothing unusual grew in the fencerow: thorny wild floribunda roses were plentiful. Somewhere in the last 20 years the roses bushes went the by-and-by and the invasive Amur bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) took its place with a hyperdrive growth habit. Having enough of losing my backyard to these gigantic shade-killing, tree wannabes, I am fighting back with a handsaw, a saws-all and a soon to arrive chainsaw. The largest beast is nearly 5 feet in circumference at the base!

Last year the power line maintenance crew came through and took a scoop out of the middle of the row. That only aggravated the honeysuckle enough to send up gazillions of 4-6′ sprouts in retaliation. I asked the work crew to take it all (por favor) but was turned down. This removal process is turning out to be quite the stress reliever. Nothing like a power tool to bring a smile to one’s face.

A field of Callery Pear trees gone wild around the 25 mile marked on I-75. (Photo by Joe Boggs, Asst. Professor OSU and OSU Extension of Hamilton County, OH)

I should be grateful that my horticultural foe is the Amur honeysuckle and not the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana). You can’t miss them right now – they are everywhere man did not plant them. You say, “I thought the flowering pear was sterile.” The National Park Service notes, “While some plant genotypes are self-incompatible, meaning they require cross pollination from another genotype in order to set seed, others can pollinate themselves. Different genotypes growing near each other (e.g., within about 300 ft.) can cross-pollinate and produce fruit with viable seed.” Apparently, that’s how we got to where we are.

Once established Callery pear forms dense thickets that push out other plants including native species that can’t tolerate the deep shade or compete with pear for water, soil and space. To make matters worse, they have thorns and even crowd out the Amur honeysuckle!

What to do? First: do NOT plant Callery pear or any Callery pear cultivars including the well known Bradford pear. Second: cut down or pull out any volunteers that sprout on your property. Some alternative trees to consider for landscape use include: common serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), shadbush or juneberry (Amelanchier arborea, Amelanchier laevis), alternate-leaved dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium), or cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli).

Read more about the Callery pear at this Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Forestry’s PDF: Weed of the month on Callery Pear.

Lions, tigers and bears – oh, my!

Asian Long-horned Beetle

As if the Ohio invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer wasn’t enough, the Asian Longhorned Beetle may be the next critter to endanger Ohio forests. As the name indicates, this destructive invasive is from east Asian countries and has apparently been hitch-hiking across the U.S. in shipping crates and pallets. Already, eradication efforts are underway in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York and it appears to have been successfully eradicated in Chicago. While the Emerald Ash Borer’s tree-du-jour are ash trees, the ALB grows, reproduces in, and kills deciduous hardwood trees such as ALL types of maples (sugar, silver, red, Norway and box elder), birches, horse chestnuts, poplars, willows, elms, ashes (Those poor ash trees can’t cut a break!) AND even our buckeyes!

On June 9, an alert landowner noticed three damaged maple trees on his property a few miles from the Village of Bethel in Tate Township, Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, OH. On Friday, June 17, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed that an Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) (ALB) infestation was found. Consequently, Ohio Governor Kasich signed an Executive Order restricting the movement of hardwood logs, firewood, stumps, roots, and branches out of Tate Township. This is the first ALB infestation found in Ohio. USDA APHIS has responded with personnel on the scene to assess the extent of the infestation and to develop and implement a management plan.

ALB exit hole

Let me introduce you to this new pest: ALB have bodies about an inch long, are shiny black and have bright white spots. Each adult has a pair of curved, black-and-white striped antennae that are even longer than the body. Adults emerge from trees during May, June and July. They feed on plant shoots for a few days and then mate. After mating, females chew roughly oval pits in the bark of host trees, where they lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the white grub-like larvae bore into the wood. Larvae mature inside the tree until they become adults and chew round, 3/8 inch (nearly dime-sized) exit holes in trunks and branches, from which they emerge. This life cycle produces new adults every year, rather than every 2-4 years like most other longhorned beetles. The ALB can fly hundreds of feet, perhaps farther when assisted by the wind.

What can you do if you think you’ve found one of these? Obviously, you would want to capture a specimen to be sure. A special toll-free telephone number has been established by the ODA for Ohioans to report suspected ALB infestations or suspiciously large black and white beetles with really long black-and-white striped antennae. The number is: 855-252-6450. The USDA APHIS has several YouTube videos that may also help in your CSI work. Check them out HERE.

Sales alert

Ever’s Country Gardens, a fifth generation family-owned and operated grower north of Lebanon, OH, has all of their annuals and perennials on sale for 50% off. Trees and shrubs are 25% off. They are located just north of the St. Rt. 48 bypass at: 1815 U.S. 42 north, Lebanon, OH, 45036. Phone: 513-932-3914.

I found figs

I was down at Jungle Jim’s International Food Market in Fairfield, OH yesterday and they had hundreds (yes, hundreds) of brown Turkey figs for sale in about a 2 gallon pots. They were about three feet tall and many had figs. The prices were $24.99, down from $29.99. If you have never visited Jungle Jim’s – it’s a hoot. I came home with foods from Greece, Macedonia, Italy and closer to home: Durango, Colorado. The fresh peaches from South Carolina are scrumptious!