Charlottesville working to protect trees from emerald ash borer

Charlottesville working to protect trees from emerald ash borer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect ash trees at no cost.

Emerald ash borers, a beetle native to Asia, are endangering trees in Charlottesville.

“What it does is it ends up killing all of our native ash species in our region. So Charlottesville, much like the rest of Virginia, is 1% to 2% ash, but that’s going to have tremendous impacts in our forest,” Mike Ronayne, urban forester with Charlottesville, said.

The city is working with the USDA on a five-year study program to protect ash trees from emerald ash borers.

“We were approached by the USDA about a program to introduce a parasitoid wasp to help control emerald ash borer within our region, and we found an appropriate site that would work well for the program at Ragged Mountain Natural Area,” Ronayne said.

Ronayne says once an ash tree is infected by emerald ash borer, it can die in one to three years.

“We do not see this program as a silver bullet to the emerald ash borer problem in our region, but we see it as another innovative and practical tool to help us in the fight against emerald ash borer,” Ronayne said.

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