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Friday, March 18, 2016

Breaking Down

Another ash tree bites the dust. Probably killed by emerald ash borer. But once it's on the ground, what happens then?

dead log

It's a good thing there are many ways that decomposition is aided, or we'd be buried in piles of dead wood that never returned to the soil.

The woodpeckers have been busy drilling holes in the bark.

dead log

Why? They are looking for dinner in the form of bugs and larvae that have made their homes under the bark.

dead log

I don't know for certain that it was emerald ash borer that killed this tree, but the beetle galleries you can see in the wood might be from that insect. The ash borer galleries wander all over. These don't seem too erratic, but neither are they in the patterns you see made by some insects. (see link below)

dead log

And lichen is working hard on the bark. I'm sure there are also various fungi weaving webs of mycelia through the wood even though no fruiting bodies are visible right now.

dead log

Of course it fell across my trail. Do you even have to ask?

Off to work soon. Have a good night.

See Bark Beetle Galleries
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Ann said...

Now I'm curious as to how long from the time the tree falls does it take for it to totally decompose

Secondary Roads said...

That fourth picture illustrates well the way the emerald borer kills ash trees.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- would depend a lot on the weather, etc. Maybe 10 years average?

Chuck- yup, but the galleries aren't very extensive, so it makes me wonder if that was really the cause of this demise.

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