This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Appreciating Ashes

The Business After Hours event last Thursday, which featured a tree walk in Potawatomie Park, reminded me that I need to pay attention to the ash trees. The emerald ash borer is in the region and it will inevitably make its way to Rensselaer. The result will be as catastrophic for ash trees as blight was for the chestnut and Dutch Elm disease was for the American Elm.

Rensselaer has a lot of ash trees in its neighborhoods, and the ash trees are among the first trees to change color and lose leaves. There are some large and lovely ash trees north of St. Augustines.
 A smaller tree with nice color is a bit to the east.
 The public library planted several ash trees along Susan Street. These may be among the last ash trees planted in town. The tree is no longer recommended for planting--the danger of the beetle makes is a poor choice.
 There is a huge ash tree on the south side of Milroy near College Avenue and a couple smaller ones on the north side.
 Weston Cemetery has a lot of ash trees west of the creek. In this section of the cemetery the trees are mostly bare when the oaks and maples are in their prime colors. In a few years it may be mostly bare of large trees.
 I do not think I have yet posted a picture of the finished bridge over the creek. The picture below was taken about a week ago when the trees had not yet started turning color. It is fine for vehicles, but it will not be a good place for kids to stop and throw sticks into the creek. The road slopes down at the edge.
 There are several species of ash trees that grow in our area and I have never been able to tell them apart. Maybe because there are different species only some of the ash trees are turning yellow. Others are still green. A few seem to have lost most of their leaves and are full of ash seeds, which look like little oars.
 The other big sign of autumn is the harvest. Last week a lot of corn and soybeans were harvested. I noticed several fields in which only part of the field had been harvested. I wonder if that was because of the moisture of the corn.
 Harvest is over at the the community garden north of Rensselaer. It was tilled late last week. I enjoyed my summer there.
 We may lose many or most of all of our ash trees in the next decade but there is reason for hope. Scientists are trying in several ways to breed a chestnut that will be blight resistant. And among the trees planted in Potawatomie Park are some American Elms. There are now some cultivars that have some resistance to Dutch Elm disease, though they do not seem to live as long or gets as big as American Elms that I remember from my childhood.

There is now a commemorative bench dedicated to Herb Arihood by his family near the south end of the bowstring bridge.

One final sign of autumn--there was some patchy frost in our area early this morning.

1 comment:

Patty Stringfellow said...

Thank you for posting pictures of our beautiful ash trees at the library. We planted them over ten years ago through the generosity of some local residents. They are a wonderful addition to our Memorial Tree garden. We do treat them annually for ash borer disease so hopefully they will have a long, beautiful life!