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Emerald Ash Borer Threat Increases with Confirmed Case in Waukesha County

Emerald Ash Borer threat Increases with confirmed case in Waukesha County. Ken Ottman, owner of First Choice Tree Care, provides tips and information about EAB and its threat to Wisconsin trees.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) continues to spread through the state of Wisconsin, leaving millions of ash trees in danger. A case of EAB was confirmed in the village of Mukwonago, in Waukesha County. With this new discovery, a total of 11 Wisconsin counties are now under EAB quarantine to help slow the spread of the borer. The quarantine prohibits movement of materials such as infested firewood, nursery stock and timber that could spread EAB.

Tips to Save Ash Trees

Ash trees are very beautiful, provide significant value to homeowners’ properties and it is important that we preserve them. They help reduce heating and cooling costs, reduce air pollution and storm water runoff and increase property value. Ash trees do not have to die if the necessary precautions are taken.

Some tips for preventing an infestation include:

  • Do not move firewood. Purchase local firewood on trips and use all of it. This will reduce the chance of spreading the disease to new areas.
  • Be familiar with the signs of an infestation and contact a professional for assistance if you suspect EAB.
  • Before considering removal or replacement, keep in mind that treatments are a more economical approach to EAB management

All About EAB

Emerald Ash Borer is a small metallic green beetle that feeds on the wood tissue just beneath the bark. It is 100 percent fatal to ash trees and has killed tens of millions of them across the United States. Wisconsin forests contain 727 million ash trees, nearly 7 percent of the tree population. In urban areas, there are 5.2 million ash trees.

Trees with EAB may show several signs of infestation. One major sign is death of the foliage at the top or crown of the tree. The tree may also produce numerous trunk sprouts. Another sign is vertical bark splits in the tree. Finally, woodpecker feeding usually indicates the tree is infested with insects.

EAB was accidentally imported into the United States in the wood of shipping crates from China where the beetle is native. It was found in southeast Wisconsin in August of 2008.

If you suspect EAB or want to learn more about preventative treatments, please contact First Choice Tree Care at 262-242-1274 or visit www.firstchoicetreecare.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Johnny Paycheck June 25, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Hi Ken, I called an arborist to see about getting the 3 ash trees in my yard inoculated for this and was quoted a jaw dropping $750 ($12 per inch of tree thickness) on a two year inoculation. Would you expect that the cost will come down as this continues to spread? I can't see where there would be many people who are willing or able to spend that much on tree inoculations.
jbw June 26, 2012 at 08:27 AM
If EAB quickly destroys the trees it infests and it only infests one kind of tree, then how did it survive in China? Does it start attacking other trees when there are no Ash trees left?
Jim Price June 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
jbw, there are several known predators on the beetle in China, which keep them in check and prevent all ashes there from being infested. Presumably, too, the native ash species in China have also developed some resistance, as they (and the predators) have all evolved together. This is the case with most exotic and invasive species, such as the zebra and quagga mussels, buckthorn and garlic mustard, even dandelions. Imported species with no natural predators spread unchecked through any suitable new habitat. There are clinical trials going on with tiny wasps imported from China that prey on emerald ash borers. But it isn't as easy as just breeding a few million wasps and letting them go. First you have to make sure that a.) they can survive in the same habitats here as the beetle does, and b.) (and more importantly) that they won't turn out to be a pest as bad or worse than the one they are meant to control. This has happened frequently. Good example: They imported sugar cane to Australia. Then, by accident, a cane beetle showed up that was ravaging in the cane crop. So they imported the cane toad to control the beetles. Which it did, to some extent. But it also took an even greater liking to every native Australian species it could swallow. And they're honking big toads. As you would expect of such a story, they couldn't find anything that would eat the toads, and now they can't get rid of them. We wouldn't want a plague of wasps, but they do give hope that ashes may survive.
Jim Price June 26, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Also, it may be that the wasps alone, without whatever natural resistance factors the native trees (of China) have adapted to the beetles, will not do the job. There are many instances in nature in which a plant that is attacked by a pest releases chemicals that attract the predator on that pest. Our native ashes may not have that capacity, or might lack some other critical system that co-evolution has given their Chinese cousins. To answer your other questions, it's probably too soon to know at this point whether the beetles, unchecked, would actually annihilate all ashes. The chestnut blight wiped out virtually every American chestnut tree. The Dutch elm disease left a lot of American elm survivors, and they reproduce, and their offspring grow to reproductive age with great regularity, filling my garden each year with hosts of elm seedlings. Right now, it's looking rather bad for the ashes, as they seem to be pretty thoroughly devastated where the infestations are worse. But as it spreads wider, we might see something different – a slowdown, some trees surviving, or ash seedlings coming back where the beetle has moved along. It could become more Dutch elm-like and less Chestnut blighty. And finally, I haven't heard that the emerald ash borer attacks any other trees where it's wiped ashes.
Matt Gamble June 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Jonny, That is a rediculous price for the treatment and should be more in the 4-6 per inch area. I would suggest re-quoting this with a less CORPORATE and more specialized tree service like American Arborists Tree Service or Farina Tree Care.
Johnny Paycheck June 27, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Thanks Matt! I am going to call them this week-- around $300-400 was what I had considered I would be able to pay for this so that is perfect...
jbw June 29, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Thanks, you are a fountain of information, Jim. I have maple seedlings everywhere myself - including growing out of the neighbor's gutters for a while.

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