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Retaining viable Ash seed: You can help

The Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA) needs your help to find trees with viable ash seed to bank ahead of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) impact, and to find trees that have survived an EAB infestation without being treated by the TreeAzin insecticide. We haven’t much time left before EAB reaches most of Ontario’s natural stands.

This effort is led by the National Tree Seed Centre (https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/research-centres/afc/13449#conservation), and FGCA has contributed training, seed and support since 2004. In 2017, the Canadian Forest Service began DNA sampling as well.

We are looking for:

  • Trees in a native stand (not planted), i.e. forest, hedgerow. Permission to access and collect samples must be available from the land manager or landowner.
  • For survivor DNA samples, we prefer larger trees (>20 cm DBH) with healthy crowns that have NOT been treated for the EAB. We will cut leaf or bud samples with pole pruners or pull down samples with a throw line.

Seed must be viable and of good quality (filled embryos, low insect damage); send us a cut test photo like the one above of 20-30 seeds to judge feasibility. 2018 was not a great seed year but blue, green and white ash may still be holding on, or keep an eye out next year for flowering and development, see: http://fgca.net/2017/04/ash-wood-infested-eab/

FGCA has also set up its first iNaturalist project to gather reports from citizen scientists and serve for planning purposes next year. You can download the app for any smartphone or Tablet, or report observations online: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ontario-native-ash-seed-and-survivor-dna-collection

For more information please contact Melissa Spearing
Seed Program Coordinator, Forest Gene Conservation Association
melissa@fgca.net
416-909-9755

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