• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

ongoing Emerald Ash borer situation in Michigan

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well we have come to the place now to where we have to have the huge huge huge ash in front of our house, beside our garage taken down. The woodpeckers have lost the battle and the big guy is just going to have to be removed.

Taking estimates on removal today, so far the best estimate is having it removed with a crane rather than a bucket truck and cut up for our firewood (we'll have to chip the branches ourselves but we have a small chipper)..and we'll have the trunk cut into 18" thick logs which we'll figure out what to do with (husband thinks they would make great seats for a fire ring area??)

Not sure how many cord of firewood we'll get out of it..but firewood goes for around $50 a cord right now..so hopefully it will help ease our cost of removal..not having the stump chipped up, as it is just too big and high up and surrounded by lilac bushes..think maybe I might dump a load of Dairy DOO on top of the stump eventually to bury it??

we have hundreds of other ash that will need removing, but we can do those, they are smaller and farther from buildings.

will post photos on the blog when we remove the big guy..I'll miss him, he has been our air conditioner for the past 41 years
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8966
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
129
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is it necessary to remove the trees? In one of the discussions here about creating a food forest in existing forest, someone advised leaving dead trees in place (unless they pose a direct hazard of falling on a structure, I'm guessing) and allowing them to collapse on their own as in a natural forest. We're facing the death of many or most of our Live Oaks eventually from a regional disease, and I plan to leave most of them because we can't afford to have them removed. These tend to be smaller trees, though, only about 20 - 40 feet tall.
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8010
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
268
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Snags, both standing, and fallen make wonderful wildlife habitat.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/snags/

(But you don't want a forest full of them!)

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
this is a 100 foot dying huge huge tree about 40' from our house and about 30' from our garage, 10 feet from fence, above our gazebo with grape vines and near a lot of other healthy trees and shrubs..so yeah..it has to come down, it could kill someone.

We called to accept one of the quotes yesterday, first quote was $500 to cut down, second was $375 to cut down $50 to cut up into firewood and $60 to chip brush (but we own a chipper)...they would use a bucket truck....the quote we accepted was $400 to take down with a crane, gently lying the branches on the ground and their crew would cut it up to our specs for firewood, they would pile the brush for us to chip up and take the 30"+ base down to as close to the ground as they can (the tree is surrounded by lilac bushes, amur maples, plum trees, a spruce baby, some russian olive and a lot of perennials as well as some 150 year old grapevines...as well as gobs of very large trees that screen our property line.

the tree can be viewed in this link, in front of the house in photo 1 and 3

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html

in the snow on the right, this is just the bottom 10 to 12 feet of the tree shown here, but taken from our front step


http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2010/12/foot-of-fresh-snow.html





 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have an entire woods full of these trees, that are dying, some will be cut for firewood, others will be left standing, but we have hundreds of dead aspen that the woodpeckers are living in in the woods right now, so they aren't going to lose out if we cut some for firewood, we have probably just in our front, side and rear yard alone, within 50 feet of our house about 30 dying ash trees..some are only a few inches in diameter, some around 8 or 9 inches..but none as large as this one in the front yard.

also if we allow them to stand, then the borers may just continue to breed? Michigan is really asking people to take the infected trees down so the borers don't continue to breed and spread. Against the law to take firewood away from your property if you have them, can't sell it..but we don't anyway as we burn it here.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8966
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
129
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I guess if you can afford to have them taken down, do so....if the state expects people to take them down, do they help pay for it?
 
Lloyd George
Posts: 159
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You might look for a portable sawmill operator to cut the trunk into slabs and/or lumber for you. www.forestryforum.com has a find a sawyer page, the owner, Jeff lives in michigan...also, www.woodmizer.com has a directory.

ash is a right begger to saw, but sure makes pretty lumber.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
don't I wish they would pay for it, the big tree out front is the only one we can't get down on our own, the others are all much smaller. I heard that in the park at a local town they were required to remove 80 trees just this past week..wish I could have had the firewood !!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
just had a brainstorm, as the tree is still alive, and we LOVE mushrooms, I'm going to order some mushroom plugs to plug the stump and a few logs off of the tree when it is cut down Thursday (well when the plugs come).

Shiitake are supposed to grow well in ash and alder..I have both as well as will have some wood chips when we chip up the brush..thought I would innoculate the huge stump with about 1/3 of the plugs and put some of the woodchips around the stump when we chip them up, maybe it will spread out into the wood chips??

then figured I'd do several logs with the rest of the plugs, partially bury them into the woods and surround them with some pieces of logs and chips in the area so the mycelium would have a chance to spread to the nearby logs and chips too?? or maybe we could spread it..

seems that the only fungii that is supposed to do well in ash is shiitake, but that's ok it is our favorite that we have tried (next to morels)..morels love ash chips..so we'll put them here and there and hopefully the wild morels will find it.
we have some occasional morels so I was thinking of putting some ash chips where we have found morels before.

anyway, they are coming thursday to remove the tree with the crane..will update my blog with photos before and after ..after thursday
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8966
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
129
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hope you have success with the mushrooms! I would love to be able to grow them but so far have not been able to provide good conditions - too dry - which is probably not usually an issue with you up there.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
about 15 years ago some kids started building a fort back in our woods and abandoned it..i left it until last week. When I was pullling it down I got to pulling up the cedar posts..they were not rotten but they were standing in solid water..the post holes completely filled up with water when I unSUCKED the posts from the holes..of course we had had rain this week.

I figure I could plant some of the logs partway in the ground and they'll suck up a lot of water..it is quite wet in some of our woods..esp right now.

not sure about the stump though, as it won't be in as much shade as our woods, but it will get light shade all day. I figure IF I get 100 plugs I can put about 1/3 of them in the stump and just see what comes of that..the rest will go in logs in the woods.
 
Brandis Roush
Posts: 37
Location: Central Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I feel your pain- we're having the same problem here in MN, although I don't think it's QUITE as bad. It makes me thankful that we don't have any ash (I don't think, have I mentioned I'm no good at identification? I'm working on it...) BUT we have a lot of trees and about half are oaks. And Minnesota is also having a problem with the spread of Oak wilt. We had one really huge old tree split down the center last year, thankfully falling away from the garage, and about half the neighborhood stopped to see it because they were worried it was oak wilt (I'm 99% sure it wasn't, the tree didn't show any of the symptoms, and I'm pretty sure the tree only fell because it was so large and part of the main stump died and got infested with carpenter ants). But oaks supposedly create networks with their roots when they are old and living in close proximity, and none of the rest of our trees are having any problems either (KNOCK ON WOOD!).

I hate loosing trees, but I guess it's no different than loosing an animal to predator or disease- it's the cycle of life, as much as it sucks in the moment.
 
Michael Newby
gardener
Pie
Posts: 634
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
106
books chicken duck forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda Groth wrote:We have an entire woods full of these trees, that are dying, some will be cut for firewood, others will be left standing, but we have hundreds of dead aspen that the woodpeckers are living in in the woods right now, so they aren't going to lose out if we cut some for firewood, we have probably just in our front, side and rear yard alone, within 50 feet of our house about 30 dying ash trees..some are only a few inches in diameter, some around 8 or 9 inches..but none as large as this one in the front yard.

also if we allow them to stand, then the borers may just continue to breed? Michigan is really asking people to take the infected trees down so the borers don't continue to breed and spread. Against the law to take firewood away from your property if you have them, can't sell it..but we don't anyway as we burn it here.


According to Michigan State Univ. it's okay to leave dead trees standing (as long as they don't pose a physical hazard to your property). EAB needs live cambium and floem for the larvae to survive, so once the tree's completely dead the adults will no longer lay eggs on them. The problem is that the larvae overwinter in the outer 1" of bark and wood so even though you cut the tree down the larvae can still emerge as adults ready to fly off and infest other trees.

My concern is that if you don't take care of your firewood and wood chips properly then you won't really be doing anything in the way of treating the cause of the problem(EAB infestation), just the symptoms (dead trees). Studies have shown that EAB larvae and eggs can survive in firewood and they can survive the chipping process if the chips aren't small enough - 1" seems to be the consensus as to what's small enough. Unless your entire neighborhood is working together, though, these steps are useless when next door there's a stand that's nobody's doing anything about.


BTW, your woodpecker population is probably booming due to the EAB infestation. Increased woodpecker activity is one of the warning signs for EAB.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8966
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
129
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is very difficult to reconcile oneself to losing trees because of regional disease or pest. We've been preparing ourselves for Oak Wilt for ten years, because when we bought our land Oak Wilt was manifesting up the road and we roughly calculated it would take about ten years to get to our place, which it has done approximately on schedule. We're starting to lose trees near the house. Fortunately we have a reasonable diversity of trees and if we don't get Elm disease we'll probably be ok. But it will be sad to lose all the oaks.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
tyler, I have never heard of oak wilt..that sounds like another bad one. Many of the elms have died on our property but we have one live on at the corner of ours and our son has a couple on his, the neighbors have lost a lot of elm in their woods behind us..we are hoping ours are resistant.

We also have oaks here, red oaks, I put in acorns this past year of white oaks..are yours those or live oaks?

Actually there are very few trees now that do not have some sort of disease or critter killing them off any more..a great article in Mother Earth Magazine about GMO and Insecticides, etc..that will scare the beejeebers out of you also.

Right now the main HEALTHY trees around here will be the conifers, aspen, maple and oak and up the hill from us a lot of birch. We are also planting nut trees but have heard that there are some diseases attacking some nut trees too. And we are also putting in as many fruit trees as we can, but fruit trees have always had problems with critters and diseases..

We heartily feed and attract as many birds and beneficial insects into the property as we possibly can and hope that that will help..also we avoid all insecticides and herbicides and other chemicals on the property ..although they may come in from outside such as in the water.

guy just called and said he'd be here around 2 or 3 PM so I went out and took 2 BEFORE photos of our big nearly dead tree..

As for the wood chips, they will be only of the "brush" left at the end of the branches, the rest of the branch parts large enough will be cut into firewood as our new furnace instructions say the best log size is 6 inches by 24 inches long..which means most of the branches are good sizes for the furnace, even the smaller ones will be cut into firewood lengths as well. ONLY the very ends of the branches too small to cut up into firewood will go into the chipper, and yes, our chipper chips into very tiny size chips..like what you get in pet bedding...size. We'll use it for mulch. Howver there are probably a thousand trees or more within a square mile of us that are infested..so the little we do on our property will not impact the rest of it.

Yes we understand our enormous woodpecker population is likely related to the wood borers, but also they have a refuge here. We like them. I have left dozens of standing dead aspen in our woods for them for homes.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They came today and took the tree down, here is a link to some photos..pretty cool how they guy was up in the tree on ropes..

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2012/04/before-during-and-after-taking-down-ash.html
 
Michael Newby
gardener
Pie
Posts: 634
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
106
books chicken duck forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda,

Glad to see everything came down smoothly, although I hate to see a big tree like that have to go. I hope to see some pictures of giant shiitake sprouting from that stump if they take.

After looking through the photos of the removal I feel obliged as an arborist to point out that the man in the tree needs a helmet! When you're strapped to the tree one bump from that 1000+ lb piece of wood can kill you, not to mention what happens if a large limb breaks free and falls on your noggin.

Second leading cause of injury to men working aloft in trees is head trauma, electrocution narrowly winning first place. I make every one of my employees (it's just two guys, but I'd do the same if it was 200) read the monthly accident reports in the trade magazine for arborists because every month there's at least 3-5 deaths and 10-15 injuries. And those are just the ones that people have voluntarily sent in to the magazine. According to OSHA tree work/logging is the second most dangerous job after deep-sea fishing. You never want an accident to happen, but admitting that they can happen to anyone (including yourself) and wearing a little safety gear can go a long way in minimizing the effects of the accident. Sorry for the rant, but I've had respected colleagues lose their lives and both times it was shown without a doubt that they had been short-cutting very standard safety procedures.



 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8966
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
129
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What a noble tree it was!

We have mostly Live Oaks, with some Blackjack Oaks (one right next to the house already died) and some Shin Oaks up on the hill.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are so right, I have poor eyesight and was about 100 feet away taking photos with zoom lens and I THOUGHT He had a white helmet on, but now that I look better it was just a baseball cap..you are so right, and I'm surprised I thought it was a helmet.

Thanks for pointing that out to me, but alas it is over with now.

The guys on the ground all had helmets (except the crane operator I guess)..so I guess I just assumed that white hat was a helmet.

Well once they started bringing the tree down I realized how close it was to it falling on us..it was dead dead although it had leaves last year. The branches I moved from in front of our house yesterday were so lightweight it was amazing, they were definately DEAD, no bounce, just snap.

They cut a couple paths through the lilacs so I'll use some lopers to clean a path from two sides to the stump..I ordered the Shiitake plugs today. They did NOT cut up the firewood lengths as the deal was arranged .. so that ticked me off some, I didn't realize it until they packed up and left..too late..my fault but I couldn't get around the crane to check on it while they were here, and I just assumed that they had stuck by the deal. So I'll be cutting up the firewood lengths myself as well as cutting up the branches and chipping the brush. I'm now thinking that the brush is so lightweight I might bury it in some trenches? broken up into shorter pieces...most of it will be sticks that are brittle that they break easily.

After they left and I walked the long way around the pile, I noticed 2 very large white pine trees south of this tree that are dying and have to be removed..one has a wierd deformed smaller trunk at the very bottom like it quit growing, and bark is coming off at the base..wierd..the other one the top has died out of it..not sure what the deal is..we had 2 other white pines die in our field a couple years ago.

There are a couple other evergreens that have to be removed cause of snow damage and then probably a hundred or more ash trees that have to come down cause of the emerald ash borer.

I asked them about the oak disease and they said it is effecting Red oaks in Michigan, that it gets into the roots and goes from one tree to another..and will kill an entire forest in no time..great..there is a huge red oak on my son's property and smaller ones on mine.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cure for ash borer?

Is there any solution for this? a lack of____ problem? better mineralization of the soil? I'd love to save trees in my neighborhood, or the least educate people about solutions while they're focused on this.

I think my friend has found that just putting a copper coil around the base of the tree has done wonders for them. Focuses subtle forces in a way that gives the tree enough strength, enough of a boost.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cure for ash borer?

Is there any solution for this? a lack of____ problem? better mineralization of the soil? I'd love to save trees in my neighborhood, or the least educate people about solutions while they're focused on this.

I think my friend has found that just putting a copper coil around the base of the tree has done wonders for them. Focuses subtle forces in a way that gives the tree enough strength, enough of a boost.

Update:

The City meeting said they're using Treeazine (sp?) an organic spray treatment. And that there's no infestation as of yet, this was actually preventative.

Any thoughts for long-term solutions? (have a permaculturist on consultancy for the City)
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic