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Emerald Ash Borer spotted in New York, could destroy the state's ash trees

A particular kind of  Yellow leaf you see amidst the fall foliage in New York State might not be part of the fall splash of color much longer.  Many  of the yellow leaves are ash trees, and an invasive insect is slowly munching across New York State. 

It's called the Emerald Ash Borer, and it's wiping out all ashes everywhere an infestation occurs.

Don Leopold is a tree expert at the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry and says Ash trees, which are native to New York, are prized for more than there color.

"The white ash is the primary wood for baseball bats," says Leopold. " So it's not just a beautiful tree, but it has very high economic value, and they will be wiped out of New York state.  There's no way around that, unless someone doing research, and we've got a big group here, finds a way to get the insect off the tree."

Leopold says the Emerald Ash Borer was sighted in Michigan about 10 years ago and it has decimated the ash population in that state.  Right now, scientists have found it in parts of western New York, including Rochester and Buffalo, as well as a swath of the Hudson Valley from just south of Albany through  Orange County.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.