Region losing battle against tree diseases, insects

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Local forester Mike Meriwether examines one of the region's few remaining ash trees, one of several species of forest tree in the Antrim-Kalkaska region threatened by exotic invasive insects and diseases. 

REGION – Antrim and Kalkaska counties are both losing a long battle against the diseases and insects invading the region's forests, according to local forester Mike Meriwether, who serves Antrim County. 

"For the most part, due to the size of the forests in this region and what is required to fight these invasive scourges affecting many different species of trees, it's a battle we can't win," Meriwether said. 

Of the decade-long war against the Emerald Ash Borer, the Asian insect first discovered in Michigan in 2002 that attacks the state's several varieties of ash trees, Meriwether said, "I think probably 95 percent of the ash trees in this area are already dead or dying, and I'm sure that even for those that aren't showing any signs of the insect, it's only a matter of time."

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