Page 70 - Color Tour 2018
P. 70

Woodpeckers are keeping busy
"Enjoy the fall colors"
On Little Glen Lake, Between Empire and Glen Arbor
8720 Dorsey Rd. Empire, MI 49630 (231)334-3413
the diversity the ash trees provide to the woods.”
You don’t  nd an “ash” forest, as you would with maple-beach or oak. Instead, hardy individual ash trees  nd a way to mature and grow in forests dominated by other tree spe- cies.
Even when dead, ash trees contrib- ute. “The woodpecker population has boomed since the arrival of emerald ash borer,” Bakker said.
And diversity is important. Bakker said that warblers prefer a speci c insect that feeds on the pollen of ash trees.
Woodpecker food or not, some see the invasion of the emerald ash borer as nothing short of tragic.
Kama Ross, a forester for the Leelanau Conservation District, is one of those people.
“Whenever we have a devastating insect or disease attacking a certain species, we feel the loss deeply,” she said. “For my three-county area, I estimate that 90 percent of the mature ash is infected or dead, with isolated areas like Northport still having some
beauties hanging on.
“There is a lot of ash regeneration
on the forest  oor, seedlings and sap- lings, and a few ash are trying, but it seems like when they get about an inch in diameter, they attract emerald ash borer feeding... so that is not a good sign.”
Ross sees a ray of hope for trees riddled with the wood-destroying insects: parasitic wasps. The wasps, from Asia, have been imported to America through a program by the United States Department of Agriculture.
“This is the best ‘good news’ out there for the future of ash trees,” she said. “It may be too late for our gen- eration, but the future of Michigan may include white, black and green ash because of these native and non-native parasitic wasps feeding on the (emerald ash borer) larva.”
It’s a long-range strategy.
“I sure wish I could live long enough to see what does happen,” Ross said. “Ash have such amazing straight, branch free forms that really look majestic in our northern hard- wood stands.”
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