INVASIVE SPECIES ALERT
Be on the lookout for these invasive species!
HAND PULLING WATER CHESTNUTS
Water Chestnuts are a non-native invasive species which originated from Europe, Asia and Africa. Released into the Northeast United States in the mid to late 1800s; water chestnuts are thought to have been introduced to Massachusetts first. By the 1950s the plant had made its way into the Great Lakes Basin.
T. natans grows in slow moving water bodies and in water depths up to 16’. The plants are annuals that can release upwards of 15-20 seeds per year which can quickly result in a large infestation. Floating seeds will not germinate, but green to greenish brown seeds will sink to the sediment and germinate. The seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years in the sediment which results in the need for repeated annual harvest for 5-12 years to control and eradicate population. As for biological control, parasites control the population in Europe, Asia, and Africa but a leaf beetle (Galerucella birmanica) had been studied for control in the US by Cornell from 2002-2005.
There are many issues which the water chestnuts can cause for boaters, swimmers, and the ecosystem. The dense, thick mats of vegetation can cause problems for boats driving through. The spiny, hard seeds can wash up on beaches where people may step on them. The mats of vegetation decrease light below water surface for other plants, thus choking out native aquatic plant species and causing a reduction in waterfowl food. At the end of the growing year, the dying water chestnuts fall to the bottom of the water body and decay. This decaying causes decreased oxygen levels for fish.
This summer OCSWCD sent out a crew of 4 college seniors to hand pull in the Seneca, Oneida, and Oswego Rivers. After 6 weeks, the crew hand pulled a total of 19.09 miles and collected approximately 13,770 pounds of water chestnut plants; about 720 lbs./mi. Along with the hand pulling, Onondaga County Health Department applied herbicide and mechanically harvested the larger patches of plants on the Seneca River under the supervision of Dr. Russel Nemecek.
Meet this year’s crew: (L_R) Teresa Link, Brenna Galligan, Jaden Clapper, and Mitchel Thomas, all ESF students.
HEMLOCK WOOLLY ADELGID
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) has been in NYS since 1985. Its origin in the eastern US are likely from Japan. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid attacks eastern hemlock in NYS. The Adelgid uses long mouth parts to extract sap and nutrients from hemlock foliage. This prevents continued growth causing needles to discolor (from deep green to grayish green), then to drop prematurely. The loss of new shoots and needles causes decline and death of affected trees within 4 to 10 years.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is unusual in that all individuals are female with asexual reproduction. The Adelgid completes two generations a year. The winter generation produces up to 300 eggs and the spring generation produces up to 75 eggs. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid enters a period of dormancy during hot summer months. The biggest concern for the Skaneateles Lake Watershed is that hemlock provides protection of streambeds/banks from erosion. Hemlocks are also highly valued for lumber and ornamentals such as Christmas trees. And, they provide food and shelter for wildlife, especially deer. The good news is that HWA is still “A Pest We CAN Manage!” To learn more, please go to the insect section and find Hemlock Woolly Adelgid at www.nyis.info.
EMERALD ASH BORER
The 2015 year started off with the removal of 25 ash trees from Onondaga County highway rights-of-ways in the Town of DeWitt. This project was funded in part by the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM.) Rick Turk Tree Services used their 26 ton crane with a 100’ boom to airlift the trees and remove them from the roadside.
In anticipation of the adult Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetles emerging from the ash trees it is, once again, purple prism season. The sticky purple prisms can be seen hanging in ash trees across Onondaga County. Over the past two years, these prisms have helped Onondaga County and various stakeholders detect the presence of EAB in specific locations. Over these two years, we have seen the known range of EAB expand substantially and this year we expect to find it in even more locations across the County.
This serves as a good reminder to everyone who has ash trees on their property that now is the time to make decisions and take action on managing your ash trees. At this point there are still many options available whether you would like to protect your trees with an insecticide, or whether you would prefer to have your trees removed. Once trees become infested, your options may become limited to removal, and since infested trees are considered extremely hazardous, this will be much more costly. Please consult a certified arborist or a certified pesticide applicator to explore your options.
Now that the trees have fully leafed out, the season for protecting ash trees with insecticides has also begun. The District has begun treating ash trees in County Parks. This project is also funded in part by the FL-PRISM.
EMERALD ASH BORER ON YOUR FARM
On July 22, 2013, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was confirmed in Onondaga County. This is not surprising, as the insect has been detected in 13 counties in New York State, 19 states in the United States, and two additional provinces in Canada.
This non-native boring insect from Asia attacks all ash trees. In May the insect emerges from the bark of ash trees through “D”-shaped exit holes that they created by eating their way out of the tree. In June the adult ash borers feed on leaves of the ash trees. In July the Borers mate; a single female can lay 90 to 200 eggs in the cracks of ash tree bark, which will hatch in approximately three weeks. The larvae then eat their way into the cambium layer of the tree (just under the bark) where they spend one to two years consuming the nutrients that are being translocated between the inner bark and the woody stem of the tree. Upon emergence of the beetle, the entire life cycle of borers starts over.
The constant eating on the ash trees will weaken and kill the trees within three to five years. Contacts in mid-western States such as Michigan tell us that a wind speed of 30 mph, which is a very common occurrence here in central NY, will cause these ash trees to break apart and rain down dangerously sized pieces of tree that can hit targets. These targets can be: farm employees in the field or lawn, farm machinery, and barns and outbuildings. It is also possible for pieces of ash trees to have fallen and be hidden in the crops that are being harvested, potentially damaging machinery. Currently, there only two methods of treatment for ash trees include 1) cutting to completely remove the threat of hazard or 2) inoculation of the ash trees with pesticides.
Please take a look at the trees in your hedgerows, around your farmstead, and your access roads. If you have a question about the species of trees growing on your property, or would like more information about EAB, please contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA NRCS, and/or Cornell Cooperative Extension office.