Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Beetle battlers can spare wood

The Associated Press

TOLEDO - State agriculture officials and property owners have discussed ways to save parts of ash trees set to be cut down to stop the spread of a destructive beetle.

"We want to see people utilize the wood if they can. But time is critical," said Dave Schleich, the Ohio Department of Agriculture's plant industry division chief. "Our No. 1 goal is to stop the spread of this pest, and if the clock runs out on us, we have no choice."

In the spring, crews will be cutting down infested trees and others nearby in hopes of stopping the emerald ash borer, which emerges in early May.

People with other plans for the wood should contact state agriculture officials by the first week of April, Schleich said.

Any compromise will include stripping away a tree's bark and the inside layer of soft, moist wood that serves as the food source for the ash pest's larvae.

A northwest Ohio tree farm owner recently negotiated to have two ash trees cut into lumber for flooring and cabinets.

A Whitehouse resident last year cut part of his trees into firewood.

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