OSU Researchers Developing Ash Borer-Resistant Trees
By Mauricio Espinoza, OSU Extension
Emerald ash borer (EAB) has turned from an emerging pest into one of the most significant environmental threats facing North America.
EAB is capable of wiping out an entire species of trees from North America, said Dan Herms, an entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.
That’s why Herms — Ohio’s representative on a U.S.-Canadian science advisory panel that makes recommendations on EAB — began looking at possible ways to preserve ash as a component of North American forests and landscapes from the onset of the infestation, just in case strategies to stop the spread of EAB failed.
One course of action, Herms said, is to develop a resistant ash tree that can ward off attacks by the voracious beetle. This strategy has been employed by researchers in the cases of chestnut and elm, producing hybrids that are disease-resistant and still carry characteristics of the native trees.