Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ash Assassin

Taking out one endangered tree seems to cause more alarm than the threat to a whole species. Allen Bush takes out an ash and takes on the neighborhood.

imageThe Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis B)

Photo: Zin

By Allen Bush

Arborists cut down our big white ash tree a few weeks before Christmas. It had stood in the front yard since 1974. My neighbors weren’t happy with me. My pleas for any understanding fell on deaf ears throughout the holidays in coffee shops, at parties, on the street. I promised everyone that there would be a better tree that goes in its place.

“Good luck,” I was told.

“We’re tree huggers!” one critic added. No one seemed to know what kind of tree it was, or even care why I’d taken it out. None of that mattered. Our tree was their tree. “What a bummer,” one passerby lamented.

At least the neighbors weren’t marching down Top Hill Road in solidarity, carrying Louisville Slugger baseball bats made from white ash wood, at least not yet. “I see you took the down the tree,” is not a neutral declaration. It means I have looted the neighborhood. I am the ash assassin.

Nobody cared that the tree removal was a preemptive strike, ahead of the emerald ash borer (EAB). This insect has already launched an assault on tens of thousands of ash trees in Louisville alone. 

Our white ash (Fraxinus americana) should never have been planted in the first place, at least not in our front yard. (White ash grows naturally from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, south to northern Florida.  It extends west to eastern Texas and eastern Minnesota.)

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Posted by Julie on 01/14 at 05:25 PM
EcologyGardening & LandscapeSciencePermalink