Forestry

My plan for the arrival of emerald ash borer on the farm

I will do nothing.

To understand why, a discussion on the near-extinction of American Chestnut is in order. Arrival of the blight resulted in the loss of 400 billion trees that had originally made up 25% of forest composition in the entire eastern US and Canada. Logically, the government decided to salvage log every remaining American Chestnut that was accessible.

While I certainly cannot fault the logic here to harvest a resource before it is wasted, hindsight shows that trees with a natural resistance to the blight were logged along with their doomed brethren preventing any chance at breeding the resistant trees to repopulate the forest.

Organizations are currently breeding blight resistant but smaller Chinese chestnut into the humungous american chestnut, then backbreeding the Chinese chestnut out leaving the blight resistance but securing the american form. The only problem is it takes at least 10 years per generation so it is a staggeringly slow process. Having naturally blight resistant american chestnuts as a starting point would have saved literally a century in the breeding efforts.

Learning from this occurrence, the trees will be left unprotected for the improbability that the genetic information of any tree contains what is needed to ward off, pitch out or otherwise defend itself from the borer. Most likely I will have enough heating fuel for a few winters and enough carbon in need of processing that I will finally be able to justify buying a wood shredder.

An exception will be for the monster ash tree that I find so aesthetically pleasing at its location on the crest of a hill overlooking the Shenandoah Valley floor:

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This post is a follow up to: I discovered a severe emerald ash borer infestation near Washington DC

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