Tree owners prepare for possibility of Emerald Ash Borer spread


The insect, Emerald Ash Borer is killing millions of ash trees across the U.S. and it's been found in Lincoln and Fremont.

Emerald Ash Borer is continuing to infect ash trees like these in eastern Nebraska and is slowly making its way across the state.

"Emerald Ash Borer actually made it into the United States in the late 90's. It started in the Detroit, Michigan area and has slowly started to spread across the United States until we finally got into Nebraska. It was 2015 or 2016 when it was confirmed. The hard part is the trees will live for several years before they start to show any signs of infestation," said Nebraska Extension Educator Elizabeth Killinger.

According to state officials, about 47 million ash trees are at risk of being affected by Emerald Ash Borer.

"They're great for shade, they're fast growing, they're hearty and tough for here in Nebraska. Once it gets to our part of the state, we will see that all trees are susceptible unless they've been treated. If it does come to our part of the state we will see all the ash trees that are casting that great shade start to decline with time," said Killinger.

Killinger says its important to recognize the ash trees you have in your own yard that way you can be prepared.

She says the leaves of an ash tree can be easily identified as the leaves face away from each other on the stem.

"The hard part is most of the time the beetles are going to infest the upper canopy of the tree first. We are not going to be able to see the damage for at least three to four years before we start to see it start to decline and know there is something wrong," said Killinger.

But, just because you have an ash tree that doesn't mean you have to tear it down, especially if it's in good health.

The treatments available can be done by a certified arborist when an Emerald Ash Borer is reported to be in a 15-mile area.

People who have ash trees on their property are responsible for contacting an arborist.

"If you're able and have a good quality tree that's able to take on that treatment, you can go ahead and treat. But if you have those trees that are of marginal health or maybe not of good placement or they're just not an overall healthy tree. You can think about putting a replacement there rather than make that tree limp on a little bit longer with those treatments," said Killinger.

The Nebraska Extension also suggests planting a different species when doing landscaping to prevent more trees from getting infected.

There are more than 60 species of medium to large trees that can be grown in eastern Nebraska.

There are at least 30 species which can be grown successfully in the west.

For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, you can click this link.

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