What A Cool Idea!

So, I was just messing around online, killing time if you will and I stumbled upon a pretty cool website.  First, a little background…

If you may not already know, we are currently in the middle of a devastating crisis for the ash tree.  The emerald ash borer is destroying these fine specimens at an alarming rate.  Now, we can treat our ash trees to bring them back to health if the problem is caught soon enough.  Notice the issue too late, and say goodbye to your decades old citizen.  You see, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a green beetle that is native to both Asia and Eastern Russia.  It was likely brought to the United States as a hitchhiker on solid wood packing material carried by cargo ships or as a stowaway on an airplane originating from Asia.

First discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has been devastating ash trees ever since.  The EAB primarily infests and causes significant damage to 4 major types of ash trees.  Green ash, white ash, black ash, and blue ash are the main victims in North America.

Damage to infested trees occurs due to larval feeding as the serpentine feeding of the larvae creates channels that disrupt the flow of nutrients and water with the tree.  This leads to girdling of the tree and if bad enough, the tree cannot bridge the wound created by the EAB larvae and the tree above the affected areas dies as a result.

After initial infestation, all trees within the area are expected to die within 10 years without measures in place to control the spread of the EAB.  All North American ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer and without the specialized predators and parasitoids that suppress its populations in Asia, the EAB has free range and it treats the North American ash trees like an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Populations can spread up to 13 miles per year on their own, but the spread of the EAB is also helped by the transport of firewood and other wood products that contain ash bark.  In this manner, the spread of the emerald ash borer can cover hundreds of miles per year and creates satellite populations outside the main infestation zone.

So, why all the background?  I found a website that specializes in using the damaged wood from affected ash trees.  Repurposing it into picture frames and furniture, this Michigan-based company creates beautiful works of art of out something that is otherwise discarded as waste.  Why turn your beautiful ash tree into a pile of wood chips when you can turn it into this:

Beautiful Repurposed Ash Buffet

The other cool thing.  Urban Ashes (www.urbanashes.com) also sells their work to galleries for resale through their partnership program.  Which, is right up my alley.  Ash trees are all around where I live.  I’m not sure if they accept ash trees from outside the state, but it may be something that I need to look into.

On second thought, maybe that is a bad idea and could possibly contribute to the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.  Maybe I should just find some local artisan that works with reclaimed or repurposed wood?  All I know is that our natural resources are precious, and I’m all for finding a way to breathe new life into something before simply discarding it.

First things first, get your ash trees inspected by professionals.  Not all tree service companies are created equal.  Do a simple Google search and see what’s served up for reputable companies in your area.  Make sure that they use an injection gun to treat the ash tree.  In all my research, the ArborJet direct-injection system seems to be the best at managing this invasive species.  Plus, it is much safer than simply spraying or doing soil injections.  Why risk the health of yourself, others, and your pets when you don’t have to?

If it’s too late, the same tree service company can help remove the diseased tree.  Ask if they know of any local craftsmen who utilize repurposed wood to make beautiful pieces of art and you’ll always have something to remind you of the beautiful ash that once stood tall.  You can even pass it down from generation to generation.  In the midst of this crisis, become an advocate.  Inform yourself and arm yourself with knowledge.  Make a difference in your community and see who you can get on board.


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