Since 2016, the Aloha Garden Club has been working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to combat an infestation of the Japanese beetles in the Cedar Mill & Oak Hills area. If you are new to the Aloha Garden Club you will want to become informed on this tremendous threat to the agriculture of our state as well as the gardening culture that is so important to us here in Oregon. The result is that plant material and soil cannot be removed from that area unless it is disposed of properly. Consequently we cannot accept donated plants for our plant sale from that area.
With the recent discovery of invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Forest Grove, we are facing one of the most dramatic and consequential ecological changes our region has ever experienced. It is hard to overstate the impact this species will have on the landscape--the Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), one of our most important riparian trees and a plentiful one in the Nature Park, is expected to be all but extinct in the wild within a decade, as will be most of the cultivated ashes widely used as yard and street trees. EAB has already killed tens of millions of native ash trees in the eastern United States, with profound consequences for the region's forests, wetlands, and urban neighborhoods. This podcast episode from OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension offers an interesting overview of the issue. It’s also worth studying Oregon Department of Forestry’s readiness and response plan for more details. Unfortunately, given this insect’s life cycle and dispersal ability, there is no real possibility of eradicating or containing it. So, what can we do about it? To be forewarned, as the old saying goes, is to be forearmed. We encourage everyone to learn more about EAB and get involved in projects to help us all prepare for the next ten years. First of all, we can slow the spread by not transporting bulky woody material of unknown origin over long distances; firewood is particularly problematic, but this and other wood-boring insects can also stow away in pallets and shipping material. The more information we have on where EAB is, the more time we can buy ourselves in areas to which it has not yet spread. Review the signs and symptoms, sign up to take the free Oregon Forest Pest Detector training, and report any sightings to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline. Partners in the Metro region and beyond are also launching a project to map Oregon ash and EAB on the landscape using the iNaturalist app, which is free and easy to learn. While there is no native tree that can replace Oregon ash and all the ecological benefits it provides, we can still take steps to adapt to its disappearance if we have enough time to plan ahead. Please feel free to share all of this information widely with your networks. It will require a collective effort from everyone to respond to this invasion, and everyone's contribution can make a difference. – Eric Butler