April 15, 2015
In a paper published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, researchers at Wright State University in Ohio reported that the emerald ash borer had attacked white fringetrees, the closest relative of the ash tree and an increasingly popular ornamental tree in the U.S. and Canada.

Don Cipollini, a plant physiology professor at Wright State University, who detected the spread, said, “Other trees and shrubs in the same family as the white fringetree now need to be watched for ash borer infestations, including lilacs, forsythia, and privet.”

The white fringetree is in the same family  as the more widely found lilac tree. Cipollini said lilac tree owners shouldn’t be too alarmed. “White fringetree is vulnerable, but it’s quite closely related to ash and it’s more closely related to ash trees than lilac, privet and forsythia are,” said Cipollini.

Cipollini said the white fringetree is rare in Quebec (and Ontario) and lilacs are not as vulnerable to attacks by the invasive green beetle. But he does recommend monitoring these tree species and the insect’s movements.

“It’s quite likely that white fringetree is more similar in that regard than those other species are, so at the moment I do not believe that lilac, privet and forsythia are vulnerable,” said Cipollini. “At the moment I’m not too concerned about it but it certainly is worth more examination.”