Pennsylvania's resident emerald ash borer expert, David Schmit, is a Forest Health Specialist with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He can spot an EAB-infested ash tree from a mile away thanks to his familiarity with how their bark looks after woodpeckers have discovered the larvae. In today's presentation from "Preserving Pittsburgh's Trees: Action and Recovery," he shows you all the life stages of emerald ash borer and explains why it's a much bigger threat than, say, the forest tent caterpillars that periodically defoliate our trees.
He also picks up on a theme from Dr. Carson's presentation yesterday about deer, and that's the idea that "deer are the deciders" when it comes to what wildflowers you're going to see in the parks. He paints a picture of what the forest would look like if we could isolate an area from deer and begin reintroducing the plants that grew there before their populations were decimated by the overabundance of deer.
Given our distaste here at the Parks Conservancy for garlic mustard, it's interesting to think of this plant in terms of deer. Basically, if the deer liked to eat it, it wouldn't be invasive--in fact, you'd hardly ever see it. The main key to being invasive is having no natural predators in a particular location. It makes sense that native deer love to eat native plants--it's just unfortunate that the deer population has climbed so high that they're the ONLY ones who get to enjoy those plants.
Without further ado, check out some of these lovely and little-seen wildflowers (as well as the lifespan of the emerald ash borer) below, or download the slides here.