Updated: October 30, 2013 6:54AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Century-old ash trees at the Indiana governor’s residence are being treated with an insecticide to protect them from the emerald ash borer, which has killed thousands of trees across the state.
The destructive beetle has been detected about a mile north and west of the governor’s residence, and state officials are taking no chances.
The Indiana Department of Administration hired a Massachusetts-based company that developed the TREE-age insecticide system and an Indianapolis company to treat seven trees on the property.
The treatment involves injecting an insecticide through the bark into the trees’ vascular tissue.
The ash borer first appeared in Michigan in 2002 and has killed millions of trees nationally, including 12,500 in Fort Wayne.
Much of the northern half of Indiana and isolated spots in the southern half are battling the destructive insect. The damage has been compounded by drought conditions the past two years.
“Statewide, 20 (percent) to 30 percent of the ash trees are affected,” said Phil Marshall, a forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources.
Joe Aiken of Arborjet says trees can’t be saved if at least 50 percent of the tree is infested.
The American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis has removed 39 ash trees and plans to take down 80 more because of the ash borer and drought.
Property owners who want to save their ash trees should take action soon, Aiken said.
“It’s at the point where if you don’t do anything within a year or two, the trees will be dead,” he cautioned.