Fight Against Emerald Ash Borer Continues

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LEWISBURG -- One park in Union County is getting back to normal after many of its trees were destroyed because of the emerald ash borer, a beetle originally from Asia.

Over the past several years, the emerald ash borer have infested ash trees in Lewisburg and all across Pennsylvania.

DCNR officials told Newswatch16 that battle is still very much ongoing and went as far to say that the ash tree in Pennsylvania is essentially endangered.

"The ash borer has come in like a fire tearing across the landscape as many invasive species have," said Mark Spiro of the Lewisburg Shade Tree Commission. "Any ash tree that isn't treated will be gone. We're basically looking at a fundamental change in our forests. It's not going to be the forests our grandparents knew."

"It took down a ton of trees that could've been useful shade trees," said eight-year-old Isaac Sussman.

In honor of Arbor Day, volunteers planted a tulip tree at the Lewisburg Area Recreational Park where many of the ash trees had been infected by the emerald ash borer.

"It's very important for the future for our town," said Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner. "We believe in the environment and trees are part of that. We've been a tree city for 31 years."

DCNR officials say the problems with the emerald ash borer are still very much ongoing. So much so that officials say if you have that certain kind of ash tree in your backyard, it's only a matter of time before that gets infected as well.

"The ash tree is a dominant species in our forests and a major player in our forests," Spiro added. "We're losing a key piece of that. Anytime you lose that, you lose the insects that eat off that tree, you're losing the birds that eat those insects. It's all part of a food web and ecosystem effects."

It can cost several thousand dollars to treat one ash tree and that cost reoccurs every couple of years.

Experts point out that it's people who often help spread the destructive beetles from one place to another by doing things like moving firewood.

Click here for symptoms of emerald ash borer infestation.

If you believe a tree on your property is infested, you're asked to call the Department of Agriculture at 1-866-253-7189

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