August 2022

2021-07-03 Cuyahoga

Hello, Summer! 

The Great Lakes Basin Forest Health Collaborative has been keeping cool this quarter, and hope you have been too! Read on for important beech, ash, and hemlock updates from the GLBFHC, as well as a call to action to get involved this quarter: We need your trees’ seeds!

 — Rachel Kappler

LinkedIn Share This Email
The Latest

American beech updates:

  • High survival and resistance of beech seedlings planted in Ludington: Five years ago, Ludington State Park in Michigan and the U.S. Forest Service planted seedlings potentially resistant to beech bark disease. This year, their data reveal high survival rates and no signs of disease! The metal deer fence around each tree likely improved survival. 

  • TreeSnap has added beech: The popular citizen science app TreeSnap now includes American beech on their list of trees users can report. Users will now be encouraged to report these trees while being provided additional information like how to observe beech bark disease and beech leaf disease presence and resistance. (The Tree Health Survey app is still the primary place for individuals to report beech leaf disease.)

  • New FAQ resource for beech tree owners: David Burke at the Holden Arboretum fields a lot of questions about beech care. Can you save my beech? Should I pay this company for an expensive treatment? Here’s a new resource we can all share when beech owners pose these questions: Beech care blog.

  • New beech leaf disease map for 2022: Thanks as always to Cleveland Metroparks, the U.S. Forest Service, and the government of Ontario for maintaining this map.
Beech Leaf Disease Map 2022

Ash updates: 

  • 2022 is a mast year for ash: Despite the damage caused by EAB, we have confirmed that ash is seeding extra this year, likely from the absence of a late frost. While we won’t know how viable seeds from areas hit heavily by EAB will be, plans are underway to help partners increase their seed collection, especially in areas where EAB has not yet caused widespread mortality. 

  • Lingering ash training video now available: The GLBFHC has given a few in-person trainings this year on how to spot and report lingering ash, and it’s now available as a video, too. Please watch and share with those you know who roam the forests often. Find it on YouTube.

Eastern hemlock updates: 

  • What’s a lingering hemlock? You tell us! There has been discussion among some GLBFHC partners on how to define a lingering hemlock. Like lingering ash, these would be trees in the woods that may be resistant to hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). But are they the trees that have survived in HWA-infested areas the longest? Trees that have had visible dead HWA on them? If you have an opinion on how you would define a lingering hemlock, please email them to We hope to put together a larger in-person meeting about this topic, and will let you know details as they become available.

Have an update to share in the next GLB FHC newsletter? Email us!

Partner Spotlight: Metroparks Toledo

Metroparks Toledo have been active in emerald ash borer research for years, and have been instrumental in long-term monitoring efforts with the U.S. Forest Service. They’ve been monitoring floodplain forest plots for EAB-induced changes, conducted regular EAB trap monitoring, and have already started tree restoration trials.

These efforts are paying off, bringing key EAB characteristics to light. Their forest monitoring revealed that mature ash could die from EAB in about six years, and that the tree community that would come to dominate in its absence, in their area, would be silver maple and cottonwood. Their EAB traps showed an uptick in populations around ten years after initial peak EAB abundance occurred and again this year. 

And in floodplain forests heavily impacted by EAB, they planted restoration trails with sycamore, red oak, and Dutch elm disease-resistant elm. For the past few years, Metroparks has been releasing EAB parasitoids (issued by the USDA/Aphis) into areas where lingering ash and the next generation of ash are growing. Next year, they’ll survey to see how well these parasitoids have been able to establish in the floodplain forest.

Thank you, Metroparks Toledo, for being so involved!

Get Involved: Seed Collections

The number one thing we need from our partners and allies this fall is: tree seeds!

Above is a map of targeted areas for lingering ash seed collection — locations that have had EAB first detected in 2010 or earlier. We need lingering ash seeds from any county highlighted above, colors and numbers correspond with the seed zones developed by the USDA FS Reforestation, Nurseries and Genetic Resources team:

Click here for more information on methods for ash seed collection.

  • The USFS is forming a new effort that involves seed collected from lingering ash trees to establish a series of progeny test plantings. We are looking for partners in this undertaking that have the capacity to germinate and distribute seedlings or establish plantings. This is in the planning phase, seeds will be stored until partners are prepared for propagation. Contact or for more information.  

  • Dr. Jill Hamilton, Director of Schatz Center in Tree Molecular Genetics at Pennsylvania State University, is interested in getting foliar tissue from black ash maternal trees (in addition to seed) if possible. Treated trees included. The goal of the project is to understand the range-wide genetic and phenotypic variation for black ash. Email for collection protocol.

  • Last year we made great strides in adding to the National Seed Labs eastern hemlock seed collection. We will be organizing more hemlock seed collections again this year, if interested email
Research Roundup
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy may ID beech leaf disease before symptoms. It’s a challenge to get ahead of an infestation when symptoms don’t appear till it’s too late. Fearer et al. found they could measure radiation of a certain spectrum coming off trees that differed between healthy and BLD infected leaves for early detection. [Fearer et al. 2022 Frontiers in Forests and Global Change]

  • Beech leaf disease symptoms appear at bud break. Fearer et al. tracked individual leaves and trees to learn more about symptom progression over time. They found beech leaf disease symptoms appear at bud break and then maintain steadily throughout the growing season, and that symptoms on a particular leaf-bud pair in one season had no effect on the next season. [Fearer et al. 2022 Forest Pathology]

  • New ash genome reveals candidate genes for EAB resistance. A team led by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville assembled the Fraxinus pennsylvanica genome and found candidate genes for important traits, including EAB resistance. [Huff et al. 2021 Molecular Ecology Resources]

  • Leaf spectroscopy can also early-detect EAB. Researchers from Kansas State and Texas A&M teamed up to compare field spectrometer readings from forests with and without EAB. Pigment ratio and other indicators differed between the populations, suggesting the method can be used as a new diagnostic tool. [Moley et al. 2022 Environments]

  • Forests managed for HWA have more salamanders. Cox et al. monitored montane salamanders in infested hemlock forests to see if management for HWA (with neonicotinoid pesticides) affected abundance. Compared to un-managed sites, they found over five times the relative salamander abundance in sites managed for HWA. [Cox et al. 2022 Forest Ecology and Management]

  • Traditional pedigrees aren’t great for breeding. Researchers from Quebec’s Université Laval compared pedigree-based estimates of genetic similarity between trees to estimates based on actual DNA markers. The pedigree method tended to over-estimate heritability and genetic gains, and under-estimate the impact of environmental interactions. [Beaulieu et al. 2022 Scientific Reports]

Have new research to share in the next GLB FHC newsletter? Email us!

In the News

The Great Lakes Basin Forest Health Collaborative is an initiative co-sponsored by Holden Forests & Gardens and the USDA Forest Service, funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
MISSION: Holden Forests & Gardens connects people with the wonder, beauty, and
value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities
VISION: All communities transformed into vibrant places where trees, plants, and people thrive
Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved. "Holden Forests and Gardens" and the related logo is a trademark owned by The Holden Arboretum.