In 2016, Holden Forest & Gardens entered into an agreement with the USDA Forest Service to establish a research plot of “Lingering Ash” trees. Lingering Ash trees are identified as plants persisting and maintaining a healthy crown where as 98% of their ash counterparts have died from Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestations.

Charles Tubesing, Holden’s (now retired) Curator and gifted plant propagator, grafted over 1200 green and white ash to be planted at two sites, one being at Holden and the other site at The Dawes Arboretum in Newark, OH.

With the help of Chad Knisley, Holden’s Conservation Manager, the collections crew laid out a 2.42 acres plot with 26 rows, 250 ft. long, to accommodate the plantings.
One of Charles’ last projects was to create “strong central leaders” on the 600 plants at the Holden Research plot.
Severe windstorms in early summer of 2020 severely damage 1/3 of the planting. Leaders were lost and side branches twisted and torn.
The collections crew pruned out this damage and the regrowth was very random where multiple leaders developed and side branches grew out and dropped into the aisle ways, causing many difficulties for maintenance.

2021 brings a challenging season to prune for a strong central leader and to remove over extended (co-dominate) branches to reduce competition for apical dominance and conserve energy for regrowth.

Through genetic selection of trees that displayed tolerance and resistance to EAB, and possibly enhanced through breeding, ash trees may once again be viable choices for our landscapes. This is just one collaborative effort with that goal in mind.

If you are interested in learning more about Emerald Ash Borer follow this link from the Arbor Day Foundation: https://www.arborday.org/trees/health/pests/emerald-ash-borer.cfm

Gary Weinheimer

Gary Weinheimer

Collections Maintenance Supervisor

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