Emerald Ash Borer

The closest Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) detection is about three miles away, at a private residence on 7600 block of Elliot Avenue in Richfield in the Spring of 2016.

What is EAB?
EAB is a non-native insect originating from Asia.

Why is EAB harmful to ash trees?
While the adult EAB beetle only nibbles on ash foliage, causing little damage, the problem lies with the larvae. Female borers lay their eggs underneath an ash tree’s outer bark. As the larvae grow and mature, they tunnel and feed on the tree’s inner bark, destroying its xylem and phloem tissue. This disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water, mineral nutrients and photosynthetic sugars to all parts of the tree, eventually killing it.

Multiple species of borers exist in addition to EAB. Borers, in general, will primarily attack only unhealthy or stressed host plants. In its native range, EAB works in a similar manner. However, since our native ash trees do not have any inherent defenses against EAB, all species of ash trees in Minnesota, whether healthy or not, are susceptible to destructive attacks.

How many trees has EAB killed?
EAB has killed millions of ash trees in an already affected area of 11 mid-eastern states and portions of lower Canada.

How will EAB affect Minnesota, and specifically, Edina?
Minnesota has the third largest population of ash trees in the country. In urban areas, the ash tree became the predominant “replacement” tree when trees were lost to Dutch elm disease. The ash tree is also vital to many natural areas throughout the state.

In Edina, the ash population is estimated at 50,000. The most valuable ash trees (based on size, health, location and landscape importance) are primarily situated on residential lots, some parkland and a few boulevard areas throughout the City. An outbreak could greatly affect the City’s tree population.

Should I chemically treat my ash trees?
Chemical treatments are available to help protect healthy ash trees or those minimally affected. If you choose to use chemical protection, keep in mind that application must take place every one to three years, depending on the chemical and application method used, and can be somewhat expensive.

The decision to commit to long-term use of chemical protection is a private one, but some factors to consider are the relative importance and health of the tree or trees in your landscape and the affordability of a long-term commitment. As with all trees, ash trees have multiple potential blights or diseases which will not be helped by EAB protection.

Is chemical treatment effective?
While research has shown rates of effectiveness to vary from chemical to chemical, no chemical protection method can be 100 percent effective.

What are my other management options?
Another management option -- also widely suggested for Dutch elm disease -- is to consider planting another tree or trees on your landscape to have a replacement in the event you lose an important ash tree. This option can be considered whether or not you also choose to chemically treat an ash.

Residents are strongly encouraged to learn more about the disease in order to respond in a well-informed manner based on the latest factual research.

What is the City doing to prepare for EAB?
The City of Edina is currently considering training in-house personnel to chemically treat select, valuable ash trees within City parks. We are also in the process of learning how to inspect and verify the presence of EAB in trees. Because of the complexities involved in the diagnostic stage, it is important to have professional or well-trained inspectors. If the City does choose to use chemical treatments, it is important we are able to correctly diagnose the disease.

City Park personnel have also attended many meetings and have been studying all pertinent information regarding EAB to help prepare for the management of this potentially serious problem.

Is a firewood quarantine in place?
Ramsey and Hennepin counties are currently under Department of Agriculture quarantines in regard to the movement of ash wood. EAB has a wider spread when infested wood is moved. If purchasing firewood, be certain it is not infested with EAB.

Residents who wish to receive further information on this subjest may contact the City Forester Luther Overholt at 952-826-0308.

For additional resources on emerald ash borer, refer to the following websites:

A collaborative effort of the USDA Forest Service, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as well as Michigan State University, Purdue University and Ohio State University to provide comprehensive, accurate and timely information on the emerald ash borer.

University of Minnesota Extension
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
United States Forest Service

Insecticide Options for Emerald Ash Borer
University of Minnesota Extension

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