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crunchee

Continuing Bad News About Ash

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Posted (edited)

Saw this on the local (Nashville) 10 PM news tonight.  It's not new news, but the topic is getting closer to home, literally.  Ash is one of my all-time favorite guitar woods, too:

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/invasive-beetle-could-destroy-13-percent-of-tree-canopy-in-middle-tennessee

Another way of saying that 13% of ash trees may be destroyed (or is it 13% of all trees, of which the dead/dying ones just so happen to be ash?  The news report isn't very clear on that point), is one out of every eight.  Of course, YMMV, depending on how hungry these little bastards are, and how quickly they reproduce and spread.  There are other ways to try to control these beetles besides treating every ash tree, that wasn't mentioned in the news report; such as introducing 'stingless' wasps (a natural predator to these beetles, and supposedly harmless to nearly anything else).  Woodpeckers like to chow down on these beetles, too...but there's not a big enough population of woodpeckers around to take care of all of them, apparently.

I checked out The Wood Database website, and noticed this little blurb in the Sustainability section: 

"This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as critically endangered due to a projected population reduction of over 80% in the next three generations, caused by effects of introduced taxa."

https://www.wood-database.com/white-ash/

I didn't even realize that ash was on the IUCN Red List until I read that.  The IUCN website doesn't look very encouraging...time to stock up on ash-bodied Fenders, perhaps?

https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/61918430/61918432

Edited to add:  The fact that Gibson's Firebird X has/had ash bodies doesn't help.  <_<

Edited by crunchee
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Posted (edited)

I can see it already - "Gibson Liteweight™ Guitars, featuring Organically Chambered Ash".

 

ETA: Seriously though, it sucks because ash trees are taking a hit statewide here, too. There's a line of them in front of the shop that need to come down, and at least one in my back yard. And introducing another bug to wipe out the previous bug always seems to go bad. I hope it works.

Edited by hamerhead
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Here in England (and Western Europe), a fungal disease also known as Chalara is killing off Ash trees at an alarming rate.

Not far from my house there was a wood with over 50 fully grown Ash trees, sadly they were all affected and had to be cut down and burnt, believe me it was a really sad thing to witness.

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We’re experiencing the Ash Bore bug dilemma here in South Dakota also. I have around 2 dozen century old ash trees on my acreage. Right now 2 had it and where taken down that where infected and the rest treated (which is very expensive) I’ll try to save them but I’m afraid I’m fighting a loosing battle. My neighbor had to take one down that was over 7ft at the base and was estimated at over 80ft tall (the tree guy’s boom only went to 60ft) The trunk was huge and over 30ft long so he wanted to mill it down. The county wouldn’t let him, it had to be destroyed. That would of made a lot of great furniture, trim or cabinets. Not guitars tho, northern ash is to heavy.  

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The Emerald Ash Borer hit my area, Morris county NJ, a year or so ago, and the results have been staggering. There are now dead ash trees everywhere. For a while my town Madison planted black ash as the town trees on the right of way around roads, and now 20 years later they are just dying.

I guess the only GOOD news is that the Emerald Ash borer doesn't bore into the wood used for commercial purposes. It only attacks the phloem, which transports nutrients back down to the roots. However i think when they cut down the trees, they usually burn them, though at this point I don't think it really matters. The public forests are full of ash trees, all of which can be attacked by the EAB. The only real option is to wait for the ash trees to all die, after which the EAB has nowhere to live, and will die out.

But... sad.  There are treatment options, which are far cheaper than removing dead trees, however most towns simply ignored the warnings. Once the tree is dying back, it's too late.

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Yikes!  I do love a nice  ash-bodied F-style guitar.  Just snagged this hollow Tele body last week - will have to hang on to it I guess (Time to call Stike again)!

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"...caused by effects of introduced taxa." .... Does that mean someone brought that beetle over from somewhere else? Or that it found its way here on its own? The problem with people bringing these foreign creatures is they don't know what damage they can do. Isn't there some Asian fish introduced back east or down south causing all sorts of trouble? I know pythons are a menace in Florida because knuckleheads who got them and decided they didn't want them just let them go into the wild. 

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4 hours ago, FGJ said:

caused by effects of introduced taxa." .... Does that mean someone brought that beetle over from somewhere else

From what I understand they rode in on cargo vessels... just like a bunch of others, Gobie’s, Zebra Mussel’s, and many others that are ravaging or native waters. The lake I have my cabin on was infected with Curly Pond Weed a couple of years ago. It grows under the ice so it didn’t take long to completely invade a 27 mile 15’ lake. You could’t navigate thru it, it was so thick!! Long term no one know’s?? 

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Here in PA, we lost the Chestnut trees, now the Ash trees and now losing Hemlock trees!!

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On 8/3/2019 at 12:12 PM, black magic said:

Here in PA, we lost the Chestnut trees, now the Ash trees and now losing Hemlock trees!!

Yeah, the Chestnut got nuked by a fungus, the Hemlocks have gotten that Wooly Adelgid bug.

However, at least it looks like the Ozark Chinquapin, a variety of Chestnut, managed to become resistant to the fungus, so there is hope that eventually they will be able to do the same for the american chestnut, without having to rely on gene modification.

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28 minutes ago, tbonesullivan said:

Yeah, the Chestnut got nuked by a fungus, the Hemlocks have gotten that Wooly Adelgid bug.

However, at least it looks like the Ozark Chinquapin, a variety of Chestnut, managed to become resistant to the fungus, so there is hope that eventually they will be able to do the same for the american chestnut, without having to rely on gene modification.

I'm pretty sure that gene modification is the only way for a tree to become resistant to fungus.  It's not like you can educate them.  Cross-breeding is gene modification, for instance.

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On 8/4/2019 at 7:19 PM, mrjamiam said:

I'm pretty sure that gene modification is the only way for a tree to become resistant to fungus.  It's not like you can educate them.  Cross-breeding is gene modification, for instance.

Well, selective breeding within the species. They found a bunch of isolated trees, and used some simple tests to check fungal resistance, and it turns out that natural variation gave them a leg up. The fungus that causes the blight has become pretty much ubiquitous, so these were trees that ended up being resistant naturally.

One of the big problems when the blight first struck was that they tried to contain it by cutting down all the chestnuts, which got rid of the susceptible as well as the resistant trees. It didn't matter anyway, as oak trees can harbor the fungus too, so containment efforts were pretty much futile. There were survivors however, and there are people working on making a return of the American chestnut, as well as the Ozark Chinquapin.

As for the Ash Trees, the only thing to do is wait for them all to die, or treat them. Without a host, the emerald ash borer will also die, and then they can start replanting.

 

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The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle has also been found in White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) and may also be a threat to olive trees. It turns out they aren't as particular as once thought.

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2 hours ago, stobro said:

The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle has also been found in White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) and may also be a threat to olive trees. It turns out they aren't as particular as once thought.

ARGH.  Well, hopefully it'll be enough that there aren't any more ashes.

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On August 3, 2019 at 7:19 AM, Studio Custom said:

Since the dawn of time species have gone extinct, our time is coming.  

My Magic 8 Ball says that ain't happening. 

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On 8/3/2019 at 5:57 AM, FGJ said:

"...caused by effects of introduced taxa." .... Does that mean someone brought that beetle over from somewhere else? Or that it found its way here on its own? The problem with people bringing these foreign creatures is they don't know what damage they can do. Isn't there some Asian fish introduced back east or down south causing all sorts of trouble? I know pythons are a menace in Florida because knuckleheads who got them and decided they didn't want them just let them go into the wild. 

The fish is called a snakehead. The burms were released by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It hit the Miami Metro / Key Biscayne Zoo and a few breeders releasing many different animals into the wild. No white trash knucklehead is going to gas up the car and drive to the Everglades to let go their unwanted pet that is worth several hundred dollars. The Asians however did release the snakeheads. They believe it brings luck to the family as a member passes away. They are good eating though but you can't eat them from South Florida because of all the heavy metals in the water down there. Which is what is really killing the animals in the Everglades. Not the Burms.  

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1 hour ago, Ting Ho Dung said:

The fish is called a snakehead

I'm guessing he meant lionfish.

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2 hours ago, cynic said:

I'm guessing he meant lionfish.

From his description it is the snakehead. Lionfish are South Pacific and Saltwater. 

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Are Snakehead different than the handful of species known as Asian Carp? The ones that were imported to clean up commercial catfish farms down south and ended up escaping and overrunning rivers? A lot of time effort and money is being spent in the Chicago area to keep them out of the Great Lakes.

I'm sure you've seen the videos.

 

Asiancarp2jumping-1024x646.jpg

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Snakehead fish are yet ANOTHER introduced fish swimming around the waterways.

The jumping fish are specifically Silver Carp from China and Eastern Siberia.  In China, they've had Carp Aquaculture for centuries. I think the carp were brought in to help clean up clean commercial ponds, and it didn't take long for them to get out.

Right now in my back yard, I'm fighting a war against Japanese Stiltgrass.  It was used as "packing material", which resulted in seeds getting all over the US. It's a toss up with Crab Grass as to which is more annoying.  Like Crabgrass, broadleaf weed killers don't work on it, and it overwhelms the regular grass. At least it dies during winter, just like crab grass.

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On 8/7/2019 at 9:12 PM, tbonesullivan said:

which resulted in seeds getting all over the US

Just like Russian Thistle. Can you say tumbleweed?

 

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On 8/7/2019 at 11:12 PM, tbonesullivan said:

Snakehead fish are yet ANOTHER introduced fish swimming around the waterways.

The jumping fish are specifically Silver Carp from China and Eastern Siberia.  In China, they've had Carp Aquaculture for centuries. I think the carp were brought in to help clean up clean commercial ponds, and it didn't take long for them to get out.

Right now in my back yard, I'm fighting a war against Japanese Stiltgrass.  It was used as "packing material", which resulted in seeds getting all over the US. It's a toss up with Crab Grass as to which is more annoying.  Like Crabgrass, broadleaf weed killers don't work on it, and it overwhelms the regular grass. At least it dies during winter, just like crab grass.

You need a leopard tortoise. You will not see weeds again.

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And don't even get me started on the invasive caulerpa algae that's killing off our coral reef eco system 🙁

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3 hours ago, Ting Ho Dung said:

You need a leopard tortoise. You will not see weeds again.

Oh man, I wish it was warmer up here in NJ. We also have foxes in the area, and I don't know what they'd do to the tortoise.

Looking online, there does seem to be a lot of lumber companies who are stockpiling ash, as well as trying to find new uses for it. If they properly heat treat the felled trees, which still have great heartwood, they can process them into usable lumber. Hopefully this means we'll still be able to get ash baseball bats for the foreseeable future.

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