Vigo Parks treating Ash Trees in Fowler Park

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Some of you will spend your 4th of July weekend camping.  The camp sites at Vigo County’s Fowler Park are very popular.  They’re picturesque, and they are all under a canopy of shade.

But with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Vigo County, some shade trees are threatened.  The parks department is doing to treat and protect their ash trees.

For Adam Grossman, this is his office away from the office.  The Assistant Superintendent of Vigo County Parks also treats ash trees on top of his regular duties.  It’s to protect them from the destructive emerald ash borer.  He’s starting with the campground of Fowler Park.

“We don’t have an infestation that I know of yet, but we’re going to be proactive and make sure we don’t lose them at all,” said Grossman.

Some trees have already been treated.  The parks department will treat 145 at Fowler Park, and the goal is to save the shade canopy here at the campground.

Adam uses a chemical treatment, and he’s the only member of the parks department who’s certified to do the treatment.  After measuring the tree, he consults a chart to see how much chemicals he needs.

“It’s a systemic chemical,” said Grossman.  “So when it goes inside the tree, the only thing it’s going to kill is anything that eats the leaves.  So, it’s not harmful to the environment.”

Those chemicals are injected directly into the tree, and the chart tells Adam he’ll need to drill seven sites into the tree. He’s careful where to drill.  You’ll see he’s drilling into each of the root flares.

Next, he mixes the amount of chemicals for which the chart calls and pours them into bottles.  Then he uses a bicycle pump to create pressure within the bottles, forcing the chemicals into these lines which are capped with needles.  Adam then taps check valves into the drill sites.  This ensures the chemical goes into the tree, and not into the ground.  Finally, it’s time in inject the tree.

“I just plug this thing in there, you can open up the valve, and if everything is done right, the tree is taking chemical right now,” said Grossman.

From there, you’re at the mercy of the tree.  It can take several hours for a tree to take in the chemical.  In our case, we got lucky, as our tree was thirsty and took the chemical quickly.  And remember we talked about Adam injected the chemical into each of the root flares surrounding the tree.  He says that’s a vital part of this entire process.

‘Different places will take it to different places in the tree, so you want to make sure you want to get it all around the tree and get the chemical in all of the leaves,” said Grossman.  “So that way when EAB does get here, it will eat on those leaves and die instead of kill our trees.”

Only licensed professionals are able to buy the chemicals to treat ash trees.  To find an arborist in your area, click here.

The Vigo County Parks Department will spend about $5000 treating ash trees in Fowler Park this year.  The plan is to treat trees in Prairie Creek and Hawthorn parks next year.

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