The Cicada damage to trees is quite evident with branch tips of several species of trees dying as a result of the female of the species slicing the tender branch with her ovipositor in order to deposit eggs that will hatch into larvae for the next generation. The spottiness of the cicada presence was amazing as many areas had some to none of the critters while others had a quite heavy presence.
While the media reported and somewhat sensationalized this 17 year phenomenon, it is unfortunate that the same attention was not given to the ash tree killing, non-native Emerald Ash Borer that now has just about completed its spread throughout the eastern United States. Fortunately, the woods surrounding the nursery mainly consists of the wild black cherry and maple with only a small percentage of ash that are now dead or nearly dead from the larvae of this borer feeding on the phloem tissue of the tree. Another native tree susceptible to this borer is the White Fringe tree that is a native of southern Ohio. This tree was first noticed as being attacked in Yellow Springs, Ohio as fringe trees planted along the road were dying and were found to have this borer. Other replacement shade trees for the ash would include maples, oaks Tulip popular, American Elm (disease resistant strains), Gingkos and many others. The health of forests with life giving trees is not a common topic of concern of the general public. The loss of any species of trees is a natural disaster as it is well known that trees produce oxygen, provide food for wild animals (American Chestnut) store water by preventing excess runoff and resulting floods and provide shade and oxygen for us.
A more efficient and quick reporting system of governmental action must be developed (with adequate funding) to combat future infestation of non-native pests as the present government bureaucracies are too slow to attack a problem in its early stages. In the presence of the constant din of other threats to the national interest, any meaningful change most likely will come very slowly unless billions more of our trees are attacked. As Theodore Roosevelt stated in his 1907 address to the school children of the United States on Arbor day which is partially reproduced here below:
For the Nation as for the man or woman and the boy or girl, the road to success is the right use of what we have and the improvement of present opportunity. If you neglect to prepare yourselves now for the duties and responsibilities which will fall upon you later, if you do not learn the things which you will need to know when your school days are over, you will suffer the consequences. So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal, whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life. A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they cannot renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory of wood, and at the same time a reservoir of water. When you help to preserve our forests or to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.