CLARKS SUMMIT — Borough officials are still collecting information on ash trees on private property in efforts to proactively combat a scourge to ash trees.
The emerald ash borer, a beetle native to Asia, has ravaged ash populations in several states. In an effort to get state funds to help borough citizens remove dead or dyi11ng ash trees from their property, borough officials are asking residents to reach out with information on any trees they have on their land. So far, they’ve ended up with a count of 58 ash trees, borough manager Virginia Kehoe said.
The borough is seeking grant money from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to help residents offset the costs of removing dead or dying ash trees from their properties, citing safety concerns the trees pose. An inventory of ash trees is a key step in seeking the funds, Kehoe said. Kehoe will meet with representatives from state Sen. John Blake’s office on Aug. 6 to share the findings and explore options, she said.
“There’s no guarantee we can do anything with the information, but we’re trying,” Kehoe said.
Borough officials plan on budgeting about $10,000 annually in coming years for removing dead or dying ash trees on borough property, Kehoe said. This year so far, they’ve had six dead ash trees removed from Lewis Lane Park, Kehoe said.
Residents are asked to call the borough office at 570-586-9316 or email Kehoe at firstname.lastname@example.org with information on ash trees on their properties.
Another type of tree inventory was recently completed in the borough. Volunteers inventoried all the trees in the boroughs rights of way, said Molly Philbin, president of the borough’s Shade Tree Commission. The inventory will provide useful information for the borough, including how many ash trees are in the right of way that will need cut down and also figures on stormwater management and air quality, Philbin said.
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Signs and symptoms of an emerald ash borer infestation:
■ Upper crown dieback.
■ Bark splits.
■ Bark flaking.
■ Tissue damage resulting from woodpecker predation.
■ D-shaped adult beetle exit holes in the bark.
■ S-shaped larval feeding galleries just below the bark.
All native North American ash species, ash cultivars and the white fringetree are susceptible to emerald ash borer.
— Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
What to do:
■ The most important and effective way to fight the spread of emerald ash borer and other invasive pests is to not transport firewood.
■ Many species of insects spread through firewood and logs.
■ Use only locally harvested firewood, burn all of it on site and don’t bring it to another location.
■ If you own ash trees that appear to be weakening, consider cutting them down. Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for the latest information and to learn about options.