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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 39, Issue 1 — January 2013

Effects of Emerald Ash Borer Infestation on the Structure and Material Properties of Ash Trees    (View PDF)

Anand B. Persad, John Siefer, Roy Montan, Scott Kirby, Oscar J. Rocha, Michael E. Redding, Christopher M. Ranger, and Andrew W. Jones

Abstract: Emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect borer on ash trees, currently occurs in the Untied States and Canada. In many regions, large populations of ash trees are affected with many trees exhibiting partial to full canopy dieback. Several cases exist in northwest Ohio, U.S., where EAB infested ash branches or stems fail prematurely during deadwood pruning or whole tree removal. This study was initiated to resolve the effects of EAB on the material properties of ash branches and stems. Visually non-infested ash trees and trees with recent and advanced EAB activity were examined. The data from static loading tests on primary branches indicate that maximum bending stress at failure was not significantly lower in EAB infested trees compared to non-infested trees. Examination of the fracture zone, however, revealed that wood moisture was significantly lower and more cracking was observed in wood sections of branches taken from EAB infested trees. During static loading, branch failure at the union occurred only in the EAB infested trees. In a wood resistance evaluation of infested and non-infested ash stems, significantly lower resistance was observed in advanced EAB infested ash stems when drilled at the base compared to drill sites 1 m above. This was not observed at similar drill site heights in the visually non-infested ash stems. These data may help identify risk elements associated with structural and material degradation of ash wood as early as one to two years after infestation by EAB.

Keywords: Anchor Points; Biomechanics; Branch Failure; Emerald Ash Borer; Resistance Drilling; Static Loading; Zone of Fracture.

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