As emerald ash borers munch their way ever further into the Northland, one fact seems certain: A lot of trees will be lost.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be laid to waste, says Brian Brashaw, who has helped assemble a handbook for how to put compromised trees to productive use. Brashaw put together the guide as an employee of the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth, though he now works as program manager for the Forest Products Marketing Unit of the U.S. Forest Service.
Northern Minnesota is home to the highest concentration of ash trees in the nation, according to the Forest Service.
While steps can be taken to slow the advance of the invasive beetle and to protect individual trees, nothing yet has been able to hold the infestation at bay.
The first evidence of the destructive insect’s arrival in the Twin Ports was discovered in 2013, when damaged ash trees were found in Superior, Wis..
After leaping across the St. Louis River, the emerald ash borer made its first foray into Duluth by way of Park Point, where an infestation emerged in October.
As of yet, Park Point is the only part of Duluth to be placed under quarantine for the beetle. But the city is bracing for what looks to be the inevitable advance of the emerald ash borer.
Brashaw said he co-wrote a guide — Wood Utilization Options for Urban Trees Infested by Invasive Species — in anticipation of this very moment.
“We knew that eventually emerald ash borers would get here. And this was intended to provide a road map of all the product options that are out there,” he said.
In all, 500 copies of the publication were printed a couple years ago, and they’ve all been snapped up by people in communities dealing with forests threatened by invasive insects of all kinds, including not only the ash borer but also other destructive pests such as the gypsy moth, the Asian long-horned beetle and the walnut twig beetle.