CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ode to EAB Peeling

By: Alison O’Connor and Tony Koski, CSU Extension

'Twas a cold day in December, and outside the shop,
Were piles of ash branches with emerald ash borer to stop.
The draw knives were lined up on the bench with care,
In hopes that many volunteers soon would be there.

Ash branches from the delimitation survey waiting to be peeled.
The larvae are snuggled down in the logs,
Waiting for spring to emerge and attack like dogs.
The feds and the state will determine their fate,
Hopefully prior to the beetles finding a mate.

EAB was found in an ash in September,
Which Kathleen Alexander quickly came to dismember.
All in the midst of disaster and flood,
Another insect in Boulder--Oh crud.

The City of Boulder was divided into 39 squares,
In each 10 trees were sampled to find EAB lairs.
Two branches per tree of just the right girth,
To find one of the most destructive beetles on earth.

The point of peeling is to remove all the bark,
Because on the outside there is rarely a mark.
A sign under the wood of this terrible green beast,
Are the S-shaped galleries where the larvae feast.
Removing all the bark from an ash branch.
We peel hoping to find the creamy white worms,
When you find one, they tend to wiggle and squirm.
The goal is to remove them completely intact,
The larvae may be sent to Washington D.C., in fact.

Wafer-thin layers are peeled with care,
Straight down to the cambium with nary a tear.
It’s a tedious, yet satisfying kind of work,
Especially with good music and the occasional twerk.
Wafer-thin slices of wood are removed carefully.
 There’s an easy camaraderie among all who peel,
Slowing the movement of EAB is a big deal.
Our hopes are the survey will tell us where it has spread,
To prevent more ash trees from becoming dead.

So that's what we do in the Boulder Forestry shed all day,
We toil away gladly without additional pay.
We feel a little like elves making toys,
Except our end result is preventing EAB joy.
The "bone pile" of peeled branches.

To everyone who lifts a draw knife to volunteer,
We wish you a holiday season full of good cheer!
Happy Holidays from your CSU Horties and the EAB Yule Tree!


  1. Nicely done rhyme! And kudos to all the EAB work you all have done.

  2. Love it! You guys are so creative!! Alexis

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