Gardeners use lots of power equipment to help them with their work. A quick look around the garage or tool shed reveals tillers, leaf blowers, mowers, string trimmers, chain saws, pressure washers and more. In the past, you just went down to the gas station and filled a can, put in some oil for some and that was that. Not so simple anymore. In the U.S., we got the lead out of gasoline completely by 1995 (except for aviation fuel) due to its neurotoxicity. In place of lead, ethanol or MTBE was added to "oxygenate" gasoline so engines would run without knocking or pinging.
A lot of attention is being given to aquatic invasives this year. This makes it easy to forget about terrestrial invasives, both insects and plants that threaten the quality of our northwoods environment. While there are many plants and insects that are not native and pose a great threat to our environment, three are insects that are easy to recognize and have the potential to cause great loss of trees in northern Minnesota. The first is the emerald ash borer. First found in Michigan, it spread rapidly to Minnesota and was first detected in 2009.