Kent’s nickname of Tree City could be wiped away if a particular menace invades the city’s trees. Tyler Trill has more.
Tree Campus USA, a proud moniker of Kent State University, could all be gone if one insects lands on campus.
The Asian Long Horned Beetle, originally spotted in the U.S. in New York in 1997, calls Clermont County, in Southern Ohio, a home.
Manager of Grounds, Heather White, said Kent State’s campus is home to 4000 trees, most of which are perfect hosts for the Asian Long Horned Beetle. If this relentless tree killer makes its way to Kent, White said it is bad news for their precious saplings.
“That is not species dependent,” White said. “It is voracious appetite for a number of species, and that would really decimate this campus.”
The beetle eats away the tree tissue inside of the host tree, eventually killing its former home. The beetle is so destructive because it feeds on multiple tree types, not a specific one.
The United State Department Agriculture lists maple, horsechesnut, elm, willow and buckeye as good hosts for the Asian Long Horned Beetle.
White isn’t the only official around the city of Kent concerned about the Asian Long Horned beetle making its way to Tree City USA.
City of Kent Forrest, Gerald Shanley, is responsible for 8,000 trees throughout the city. Shanley estimates there are around 200,000 trees in the entire city alone.
With the city’s fall tree planting taking place next week, Shanley said he has to avoid planting host tree for this invasive pest, because if he doesn’t, it could be quite costly.
“If we have to start removing host trees,” Shanley said, “the maples, the horsechenut, you’re looking at, the impact could be tremendous.”
Shanley said only 61 square miles in the entire state is currently regulated, so there is potential the city eventually deal with the beetle. As an arborist, he said it is his duty to stay updated on the tree slayer’s movement.
Shanley said he is very proud of the city’s nickname of Tree City and White should be pleased of being Tree Campus USA. He has no plans on removing the Tree City awards or flag around the office anytime soon.