by Max Yellstrom, Professional Golf Management major
Killing millions of ash trees in North America and endangering the other 7.5 billion, the emerald ash rorer is a lethal insect. It is a tragedy what these malignant creatures do to Mother Nature’s beauty, but it hurts me personally when they turn a majestic golf course into an eyesore.
I bet you are picturing this ugly thing munching away on trees like I imagined, but in fact, it is their larva (babies) that do the fatal damage. The adults only nibble on the foliage while the larva eats the inside of the ash tree. The tree then has trouble transporting water and nutrients and eventually will die.
Coming to North America in 2002, it was an unexpected and unpleasant intruder. Discovered in Michigan, the emerald ash borer has taken its toll. Many golf courses have a significant amount of Ash trees, an unfortunately now, some do not.
I have been to several golf courses in Ohio that have been affected by the deadly bug. Instead of perfectly manicured fairways and rough, there are piles of lumber and dead grass where it once sat. The smell of bonfire is overwhelming while the ash tree is being burned only a 9-iron away.
If you were a golf course designer, or anyone planting a tree at that matter, would you choose to grow an ash tree knowing what could happen? I doubt that golf course designers are electing to plant ash trees near the areas where the bug has been discovered. What does this mean for the future of the ash tree?
This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.