PARIS — After getting hammered by Dutch elm disease more than 50 years ago, the Ice Storm of 1998, more ice storms and even a tornado in 2009, Paris Hill trees are endangered yet again.

This time, it’s from a green invasive beetle smaller than a penny, but with a killer appetite for ash trees, Jean Federico said Tuesday afternoon of the emerald ash borer.

Federico is the administrative assistant with Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District in South Paris.

“Unfortunately, when Dutch elm disease went through during the 1960s and 1970s, it killed all the elms,” she said. “Many communities had large natural populations of ash trees and replanted their street trees with ash. Reminiscent of the loss of our native elm trees, the ash will leave huge bare spots in our landscape. It’s only a matter of when.”

That’s why the district will partner with the state to participate in a survey of ash trees on Paris Hill in Paris.

On Tuesday, July 15, the Historic District of Paris Hill will become a hub of activity. Specialists from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, members of the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District and recent trainees of the Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Project will gather to survey ash trees for signs of the damaging emerald ash borer.

“We’re trying to find out where they are in Oxford County,” Federico said. “It’s vitally important, because they’re on our border with New Hampshire already.”

According to the New Hampshire Bugs website, emerald ash borers were in Canterbury and Loudon this year, and in Concord in March 2013.

The New Hampshire site states that as a non-native insect, emerald ash borers lack predators to keep them in check. It only attacks ash trees. Infested trees die within three to five years. To date, the bug is responsible for the deaths of millions of ash trees in the Midwest.

As a result, New Hampshire officials placed a quarantine on all hardwood firewood, ash wood-products and all ash nursery stock in Merrimack County.

New Hampshire officials also confirmed a new emerald ash borer infestation just south of the border in Methuen, Mass., the website said. They’re now advising homeowners in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties to check their ash trees.

“The recent finding of this damaging pest in Canterbury, N.H., brings the threat of destruction to our native population ever closer,” Federico said. “The cost in lost trees alone is staggering. Twenty-three states have now reported emerald ash borer activity.”

She said she also worries about reports of people ignoring Maine’s ban on untreated, out-of-state firewood.

She said they chose Paris Hill for an emerald ash borer survey this month because “it’s an at-risk site.”

“It was hit by the Ice Storm of 1998, and several lesser ice storms, and then a tornado, so it has damaged trees up there,” Federico said.

According to the National Weather Service, that tornado on Aug. 21, 2009, touched down in Norway and moved east-northeast for about 16 miles through Paris, Buckfield and Sumner before dissipating in Hartford. The tornado had maximum winds estimated between 100 and 110 mph.

Another reason for choosing Paris Hill is that it’s in a direct line of sight from New Hampshire, Federico said.

“The facts surrounding emerald ash borers are sobering,” she said. It “attacks all species of ash, none of the trees are tolerant, all attacked trees will die, and over 40 million ash trees have died since (the pests were) first discovered in 2002.”

Industries affected by this invasion include furniture, flooring, tool making, sports equipment and Native American basket-making.

“To get an idea of the scope of this loss, volunteers will be placing bright-colored tapes around the ash trees on Paris Hill in the days leading up to the survey,” Federico said. “As you drive through this quiet neighborhood, you will be able to visualize what the area could look like after the emerald ash borer arrives.”

They will start flagging ash trees on Wednesday, July 2.

Another method of finding emerald ash borers is what’s called the “purple trap.”

This works by luring the pest with pheromones and trapping it on the sticky material inside the trap, Federico said.

“Anyone traveling the main highways in Pennsylvania in recent years has seen countless numbers of these ‘purple traps’ as they continue to fight the huge emerald ash borer invasion,” she said.

“While the goal of this project is to find healthy ash trees, the ultimate goal is to prepare for the damage wrought by this destructive forest pest,” she said. “By being proactive, residents will be able to monitor for EAB and begin planning for the future.”

Federico said that while there are some pesticide and biological options available, removal of affected trees may be necessary.

“So, planting other species of trees not affected by EAB now will help lessen the devastation,” she said.

Federico said people who want their ash trees checked for the bug and to learn what their options are, can ask Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District officials in Paris by calling 743-5789, ext. 111 or visiting oxfordcountyswcd.org.

For more information about the emerald ash borer or some of the other invasive forest pests, contact Lorraine Taft, Forest Pest Outreach Project coordinator, at 207-832-6241 or email [email protected].

[email protected]


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