About 10 or 12 years ago, a number of Green Ash trees were planted on campus as part of the landscaping plan for the college. Recently, it was discovered that the invasive insect species, Emerald Ash Borer had infested those trees making it necessary to replace them. Ohio is just one of 18 states and two Canadian provinces affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. Early this month, a team of students and landscapers from UC Blue Ash and the Clifton campus, led by Len Thomas from the UC office of Planning and Design, took on the challenge of replanting 59 trees on campus. The Ash trees were replaced with three different species of trees, 29 Bald Cypress, 15 seedless Sweet Gum, and 15 Saw Tooth Oak.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive species of insect that has been responsible for the destruction of Ash trees in a huge area of North America that includes parts of the Midwest, eastern United States and eastern Canada. According to the website, www.emeraldashborer.info, it was first discovered near Detroit in 2002. It traveled to the US from Asia most likely in the packing materials of cargo ships. Ohio is firmly in the affected zone that extends as far south as Tennessee.
While the Emerald Ash Borer has been very destructive, at least it only affects one species of tree. A newer invasive insect species to the area is the Asian Longhorn Beetle, and it’s a potentially bigger threat. “The Asian Longhorn can damage 13 different species of trees,” according to Mr. Thomas, “the first recognized infestation of the Asian Longhorn in this area is in Batavia in Clermont county.” Mr. Thomas, said this is a difficult pest to get rid of. Chicago had an infestation of the Asian Longhorn Beetle and it took them six years to eradicate the pest.
The University is one partner in a coalition of local organizations called the Green Partnership for Greater Cincinnati: A Hamilton County re-forestation initiative. Other partners include: Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati State, City of Cincinnati, Duke Energy, and Hamilton County.
If you want to see the new trees on campus, you’ll find the majority of them along the driveway leading to the back parking lot behind the Flory Center. They all range in size from 10 to 14 feet tall.