KEYSTONE COLLEGE -- A college in our area is cutting down some trees to save their forest from a destructive insect.
Heath and Julie Crum of Crum Tree Service are busy these days cutting down ash trees at Keystone College. The ash forest surrounding the college has become infested with the emerald ash borer.
"Once it gets to an area, it takes about three years to completely destroy the population of the ash trees," Julie Crum explained.
The emerald ash borer is a beetle that showed up in the Clarks Summit area about three years ago and has done a lot of damage.
"The number one sign you'll start seeing is the leaves getting sparse. You can walk up to the bark of the tree and see the D-shaped holes."
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Damaged ash trees in the middle of the woods aren't much of a concern but they are a problem on part of Keystone's campus.
"They have a large number of ash trees that are dead that the ash borer has killed and a lot of them are very dangerous over their hiking trails here," Heath Crum said.
Keystone College officials knew something needed to be done.
"We contacted an arborist who advised us to take preventative measures as soon as possible," said Fran Calpin, senior director of college relation at Keystone College.
The Crum Tree Service crew has been on the job for a couple of weeks but there's more work to be done.
"We're going to be here another two or three weeks getting all the ones that are hanging over the trail. Right now, I'm concentrating on ones around the trail while we have frost on the ground, so I don't make a huge mess," Heath Crum explained.
"This really is a preventative project. It's doing something now, so we can all enjoy the forest and the hiking trails for years to come," Calpin added.
Get more information on the emerald ash borer from the state DCNR website.