Statewide workshops planned to target emerald ash borer

Methods to combat an invasive insect pest proving deadly to Pennsylvania’s ash trees will be showcased in coming months in a series of free, public workshops planned across the state, said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti.

“Municipal officials, landscapers and home and woodland owners all are asking what they can do as this destructive insect spreads steadily across our woodlands,” Ferretti said. “We hope to offer solid answers and useful direction by tapping the expertise of our forestry and state parks bureaus, as well as a long list of other knowledgeable speakers.”

Workshops will be held in Tioga, Chester, Huntingdon and Allegheny counties as part of DCNR’s ongoing Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan for Pa. Communities.

Admission to the day-long sessions is free, but registration is required in advance.

“Attendees will leave these workshops with a wealth of newfound knowledge on what they can do personally to challenge the emerald ash borer’s spread,” Ferretti said. “Do you have ash trees in your community? Is the emerald ash borer in your area or nearby? Do you want to save your ash trees? These are among the many questions experts and tree-care professionals will be asking and answering.”

Panels will focus on the biology of the ash tree and its insect enemy; damage detection and control; and ash tree inventories and management strategies.

Attendees also will be introduced to urban tree benefits; insect management tools; utilization of dead ash trees; costs of management options; and species selection to replace dead ash trees.

Field trips to local management areas and chemicaltreatment demonstrations are planned.

Municipal officials, urban foresters, arborists, conservationists, pesticide applicators, tree-care professionals, landscapers and home and woodlot owners are expected to attend.

Scheduled between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., workshops are planned:

  • Tuesday, March 18, in Room 113, Merion Science Center, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, Chester County;

Wednesday, April 16, park office, Greenwood Furnace State Park, Route 305, between Belleville and McAlevys Fort, Huntingdon County;

  • Wednesday, May 14, North Park Lodge, North Park, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County;
  • Wednesday, June 18, Allen Hall 104, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Mansfield, Tioga County.

Reservations must be made five days in advance of the workshops by telephoning 717-783-2066 or emailing Workshops will be held regardless of weather; refreshments will be provided at the sessions.

Training is funded by the USDA Forest Service through a grant to the Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council. Other supporters include DCNR, West Chester University, the state Horticulture Society, Penn State University, The Nature Conservancy, Allegheny County Department of Parks, Tree Pittsburgh and Mansfield University.

Most recently, emerald ash borer infestations have been confirmed in 47 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. It now is found in 22 states.

Since the emerald ash borer first was detected in June 2007 in Cranberry Township, Butler County, DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry has worked cooperatively with the state Department of Agriculture to track and contain its spread. Efforts have included placement of purple panel traps along roadways in Eastern Pennsylvania; release of parasitic wasps; requesting firewood not be moved beyond 25 miles of where it was cut to reduce movement of infested wood; removal of infested trees; application of systemic insecticides; and distribution of outreach and education materials to communities.

Among the possible sources of replacement trees is TreeVitalize, a DCNR-led initiative to restore tree cover in Pennsylvania communities. Municipalities, non-profit organizations and homeowners can apply for matching grants and financial assistance for replacement plantings. For details, visit

Ash species compose less than 4 percent of Pennsylvania’s forests, or about 308 million trees, and most are in the state’s Northern Tier counties. Millions more are found in urban communities in the streets, backyards and parks.

Native to Asia, the emerald ash borer first was detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002.

Beetle larvae bore through ash trees, disrupting flow of water and nutrients through the tree, and eventually killing it.

Tree owners fearing infestation should be alert for the May and early June emergence of adult insects through D-shaped exit holes in the bark.

Details on the emerald ash borer and other Pennsylvania forest pests can be found online at disease/index.htm.