During the Winter of 2020 right into the Spring of 2021, we’ve pondered the strange phenomenon of what I’ve learned is called “Blonding” of some trees on our wanderings. Often huge expanses of tree trunks we’ve seen, appear to have had their outer layer of bark removed. This leaves patches of pale yellow (blond) all around (mostly) the South sides of trees with piles of bark chips at their bases. Now I’m embarrassed to admit that, I’m not very good at identifying trees without leaves on them. Honestly, I’m not very good at identifying trees with leaves on them either. So I didn’t make the connection when we first started to see these peeled or “blonded” trees in our area.
Sadly, I found out these are all Ash trees. The bark has been picked off by woodpeckers trying to get at the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) larvae inside the trees. Unfortunately, one EAB can lay up to 200 eggs, so the woodpeckers aren’t much of a control. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no cost efficient way of controlling the EAB infestation. There are insecticides available, but they’re only recommended to be used on trees of good health and/or value. ie) If the tree is in someone’s front yard, they might be able to do something about it. But trees on the roadsides, or in untended bushlots aren’t gonna get anything more than cut down and disposed of … if that much.
It saddens me, as the road where we saw the worst effects on, is a lovely backroad to walk as we wait for the bush trails to dry up after the Spring thaw. I guess not all “Strange Things I’ve Seen” are interesting or amusing.