A white ash tree stands beside my front porch in Baltimore -- its trunk nearly as thick as I am tall, and its branches stretching at least three times the height of my three-story house, shading one side of my roof to the other.
It’s about 200 years old, and it started growing back when this section of the city was still farmland beside a stream, decades before the Civil War.
From one of its massive branches, I hung a rope swing that my daughters flew on through the air in their white first communion dresses many springs ago, and that all my neighborhood’s children adopted as their swing.
But recently my old friend hasn’t been looking himself. The tips of several of its high branches never grew leaves this summer. So I called in a tree doctor: Matt Mitchelltree of North Hill Tree Experts.
“Well the tree definitely has emerald ash borer, which is an invasive insect we’ve been dealing with over the last five six years," Mitchelltree said. "It does a lot of internal damage to the plant, which causes die backs in the tips and eventual death of the tree.”