Donʼt Fear the Borer?

our front yard, viewed from the east

I just had an ugly flash of autumn — not a major issue whatsoever. But in thinking about something to write for today (actually, as promised yesterday, I am writing this on Tuesday in an avowed attempt to get a certain number of posts ahead, or at least have a definite number saved in reserve if necessity, distraction or lassitude demand). Regardless of that huge digression, only about ten weeks of summer remain, and the days have been shortening here in the Northern Hemisphere since the end of June (as always, naturally, obviously). Last year the trees began to drop their leaves by mid-October… And it is the leaf-dropping thing that clutched my heart as I pondered on the approach of autumn.

We have seven trees in our little yard. Along with all the bushes and shrubs, that number with the passing years has begun to signify an immense, enduring set of chores as these deciduous plants shed their annual leaves (seven truckloads of leafy matter each of the last two autumns, as a matter of fact). A while back I expostulated on our yardʼs installations of bushes and plants, but I never got around to the trees, although regular readers have gotten several chances to see some of them in photos. Today and tomorrow youʼll learn a little more.

We havenʼt always had seven trees, and once upon a time the leaves that dropped would all blow away in the strong northerly winds that scour our hilltop. When we bought the house back in 1985 (I think), only three trees grew in the front yard; there were no others, nor any bushes, either. We did not know what two of those original trees were, except the middle one was a red maple (I am pretty confident that it still is). We have since been told that at least the far western (left) one is an ash, not such good news as the emerald ash borer continues its inexorable spread toward Iowa (I would hope not inexorable, but knowing some campers and Rightist thinking in general, I am dubious of the stateʼs ability to keep idiots from carting home bug-infested firewood). Personally, I donʼt think the leaves on our westernmost tree look particularly ashlike (yeah, I can lie to myself as easily as Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage or… any of those Righty inhuman verminous pests), and although several folks have told me the other end is also an ash, it seems completely different, especially with its now-annual load of not-quite-copters and spongy/spiny seeds pods (unless we have a male/female tree thing there).The problem is, I am afraid they are ashes and that selfrighteous and mentally deficient outdoorspersons will escort the borers here.

In serious truth, we are worried, as we donʼt have the cash to take the trees down if/when the borers come and kill these possible-ashes. Are they ashes? I havenʼt been able to tell for sure, and those who have told us they were, although certainly fair and trustworthy folks, I donʼt want to believe. Yet. So I would accept any help on knowing if Janet and I have to fear the emerald ash borer in our future. Are these trees ashes?

Hereʼs the western tree:

Western tree — “ash” or not?

Hereʼs a close-up of the leaves on the western tree:

leaf clusters on the western tree — are they ashlike?

And now the eastern tree. Does it look like an ash to anyone (and why)?

eastern “ash” — Is it?

And the eastern treeʼs leaf clusters:

The eastern treeʼs leaves look like this…

Hereʼs an ashʼs leaves from the internet:

genuine ash leaves and branches…

What do you think?

I was going to go on about the other trees today, but I think I will keep it brief and focused on the pictures in case anyone can advise us. And I am seeking your input.

More on trees tomorrow

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.