Invasive species update

Last Monday I had an opportunity to attend a tree seminar, and invasive species of trees was one of the topics.

I hate to say this, but Ohio is really a hotbed of invasive species of trees right now. Many of you are familiar with the issue in our ash trees, emerald ash borer (EAB).

If you are an avid reader of my column, you have also heard me discuss the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) that is truly a major invasive pest. This beetle loves maples as well as 16 other species of trees.

There are a few other problems that you should be aware of in the landscape and woodland areas.

Hemlock wooly adelgid was discovered 2012 and is primarily in southeast Ohio; the Hocking Hills Region has approximately 60 percent of Ohio’s Eastern hemlocks. The Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR) Department of Forestry is responsible for managing these trees.

They are aggressively working to eradicate this problem. Volunteers are used to help monitor and identify infested trees. The last two cold winters really helped to kill quite a few of the adelgids; however, they have a capacity to rebound and are still present.

A disease called thousand cankers disease (TCD) of black walnuts was discovered in Butler County in 2012. It is a disease that is spread by the walnut twig beetle feeding.

There was some good news shared at the seminar regarding TCD. In 2014 and 2015 there were no twig beetles found in traps around the state. ODNR really didn’t have an explanation as to why but were glad to not find them.

Of course, most in Ohio are familiar with emerald ash borer, which feeds on all species of ash trees. Ash trees are in the olive family.

What you may not know is that Don Cipollini from Wright State University recently discovered this pest feeding on fringetree, which is another plant in the olive family. Cipolloni also found that EAB can complete its lifecycle in this tree.

There was also good news regarding a disease that kills an invasive tree species. Tree-of-heaven is an invasive tree, and recent research has shown that verticillium wilt has been discovered in Ohio, and it kills this tree.

Asian longhorned beetle has been battled in the southeast Ohio area (Clermont County), and progress is slow.

There is a research center in the quarantine zone trying to learn more about this pest because it’s still so new.

We need to spread that word about invasive species in order to prevent major problems. The sooner a problem is identified, the easier and less costly is might be to eradicate.

I encourage you to learn about the various invasive species in Ohio and keep your eyes open.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at

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