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K-State Today

April 19, 2018

What's going on with the two ash trees near Dole Hall?

By Cathie Lavis

Ash Peel Dole Hall

Walking by Dole Hall and seeing two trees with bark removed in a methodical manner may cause you to wonder, "Who would do this to trees and why?" Cathie Lavis, associate professor of horticulture and natural resources, explains.

Kansas State University's Tree Campus USA/Landscape Advisory Committee is preparing for the imminent arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, an invasive species that is highly destructive to ash trees. The committee is comprised of K-State facilities cohort, K-State Research and Extension and teaching faculty, community arborists and arboriculture students and is working to develop a five-year strategic plan. The K-State Manhattan campus is home to approximately 250 ash trees.

Studies conducted by Michigan State University and USDA Forest Service suggest that girdled ash trees are an effective detection tool for emerald ash borer. Adult emerald ash borer are attracted to stressed ash trees and lay more eggs on stressed trees. Girdling ash by removing the bark and phloem around the entire circumference of the trunk, creates an effective attractant for the insect.

Girdled trees are allowed to stand for a growing season, and then they are removed for processing. Processing involves removing all of the bark on specific sections of the trunk to search out larval feeding galleries and emerald ash borer life stages. Although girdling and bark peeling are labor intensive and involve the sacrifice of a live tree, girdled trap trees are a good option for detection of EAB. This will help determine if EAB has arrived on our campus ash trees.

To maintain the title of Tree Campus USA, arboriculture students share their passion for trees and their care each spring during the week of Arbor Day. In Kansas, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. This year's educational outreach endeavor is titled, "Educating the Campus Community about the Eminent Invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB." This year's project was supported by a Green Action Fund Grant for Sustainability, sponsored by K-State Student Government. Tree Campus events will be at various time throughout the week of April 23-27.

Please join K-State arboriculturalists in celebrating Green Week and Arbor Day next week. There will be numerous opportunities to learn more about EAB throughout the week culminating with a tree planting on Arbor Day, April 27, in honor of Provost Mason and her many contributions to our campus.

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