The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed an emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation in the City of Fairmont – City staff identified ash trees on the Heritage Acres site off Lake Avenue that appeared to be dead or dying. Upon investigation it was apparent that these trees had become infested with EAB. Photos were sent to the MDA for confirmation that same day.
There are several things residents should look for when checking for emerald ash borer:
· Be sure you’ve identified an ash tree. This is an important first step since EAB only feeds on ash trees. Ash have opposite branching – meaning branches come off the trunk directly across from each other. On older trees, the bark is in a tight, diamond-shaped pattern. Younger trees have a relatively smooth bark.
· Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like EAB larvae and woodpecker holes or some bark pealed away leaving a lighter patch in the tree may indicate the presence of EAB.
· Check for bark cracks. EAB larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval (S-shaped) tunnels underneath.
· Contact a professional. If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, contact a tree care professional or the MDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-545-6684 (voicemail).
Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by this invasive insect. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.
The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae.
There are four easy steps residents can take to keep EAB from spreading:
· Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from approved vendors, and burn it where you buy it;
· Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. Martin County is a quarantined county, be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips, and firewood; and,
· Don’t remove suspected trees until fall/winter. Removal now will transport active EAB.
· Watch your ash trees for infestation. If you think your ash tree is infested, go to https://www.mda.state.mn.us/eab-info-homeowners for resources on identifying EAB, how to hire tree care professionals, and insecticide options for protecting your ash tree.