Joint Arboretum and Forest Service program protects trees from pests

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 11:54 in Biology & Nature

On a warm afternoon in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, John DelRosso embarked on a task that was part detective work, part tough love, and reached for his chainsaw. He was 40 feet up in a 137-year-old maple whose thin crown and dying branches attested to the fact that it had seen better days. DelRosso pruned away dead branches, then focused his attention on living wood, cutting branches that to the layman might seem fine, but to the chief arborist’s eye bore tiny holes that spoke of infestation. But infestation with what? An hour later, the branches were a mile away in Roslindale, safely sealed in a barrel, where they will stay for the next two years. Over that time, insects within the wood will develop, emerge, and fall into an attached liquid trap, where forest managers and scientists can collect and identify them. The barrel is among 48 resting on racks in an otherwise unremarkable...

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