Thursday, June 28, 2012

Damned Bugs

Intense heat today, nearly 100° F., and after a brief rainstorm in the late afternoon, tropical humidity. August has arrived early. Yesterday I got a handwritten note near my front door from the village engineering department. The tree next to the street in front of my house -- on village land -- is going to be removed. As in, cut down. The problem: the dread emerald ash borer.

Damn. It isn't a favorite tree of mine, but it's a tree in a spot where there needs to be a tree. The note added that a replacement would be "discussed at a later time."

Damn again. Fine, a little tree is going to go there. Will I even be here long enough to enjoy it as a full, shady tree? Probably not.

But the note did make me take a closer look at the tree that will be destroyed. It looks ill. Here in the fullness of June, it doesn't have nearly as many leaves as it should. The village has more about the problem here, including the awful lines that "... history and research has indicated that the village can expect a vast increase in mortality rates this summer. The EAB Management Plan assumes the loss of the majority of ash trees from this infestation..."

Yuriko and I took a walk late yesterday afternoon and noted the mark of death, a red spot painted on the trees, facing the street. At least a half-dozen trees on our street are slated for removal (but not all of them). I lost count of the other red spots on other streets; the infestation must be bad. I also came to think that decades ago, when this subdivision was new, someone planted a lot of ash trees. Maybe they were cheap, and the concept of biodiversity hadn't been invented, or at least popularized, yet.

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