Keeping trees, especially shade trees, in your community healthy and thriving was the focus of a special forum in Ocean Township Sat., March 4.
A panel discussion on ways to keep shade trees healthy, learn about the current threats, and look at the challenges and dangers to trees native to this area were all part of the discussion.
“The panel was a joint effort in fulfilling our mission to further the well-being trees, increase the tree canopy in our community, and discuss things that challenge their wellbeing. We discussed ways to protect trees to increase their life span,” said Mary T. Johnson, a member of the local Shade Tree and Environmental Commission.
“The local tree canopy has decreased dramatically recent years due to storms, diseases and other reasons,” she said.
The discussion included a video about the Emerald Ash Borer, which is a new threat to trees in this area. The emerald ash borer is a green jewel beetle native to eastern Asia that feeds on ash species. In the United it is an invasive species and is highly destructive to ash trees.
“This beetle is just hitting our area now and killing trees. The beetle bores under the bark and, eventually, if not treated will kill tress,” Johnson said.
She said that the beetle has hit Ohio particularly hard and killed off entire forests.
The discussion was sponsored by the Ocean Township Shade Tree Commission, the township Environmental Commission, and the Ocean Township Library. The panel included various experts, including chairpersons of the Shade Tree Commission, a representative from the Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission, certified tree experts, and representatives from JCP&L. A concurrent children’s event was also offered at the library.
“The event was very successful and we ran over the allotted time. There was so much discussion and the audience was very involved in talking about their concerns for trees. We had more people than we anticipated. The goal was to bring as much information to people as we can,” Johnson said.