For years, Isanti County arborists have been on high alert. Despite all efforts, the number one invasive species on their “most wanted list” has been making a steady progression across the state. And while it hadn’t been officially found in our area, the question wasn’t if it would invade, but when. Well, that when is now.
On Nov. 16, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Emerald Ash Borer in Southern Isanti County for the first time. A group of trees in Stanford Township was identified as having Emerald Ash Borer by a “tree care” company that reported the discovery to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Later, another group of trees about a mile away from the original reporting was confirmed to be infested as well.
To stop the spread of the EAB, the Department of Agriculture immediately issued an emergency quarantine on wood movement from all of Isanti County south of Highway 95. This quarantine limits the movement of firewood and Ash material from Isanti County.
SLOWING THE SPREAD
For residents concerned about their ash trees, catching an infestation early is the key to treating infected trees. Jonathan Osthus, from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, says now is the perfect time to check your trees for possible infestation. Now that the leaves have fallen, check the canopy for an overabundance of woodpecker holes high up on the tree, where the infestation starts. Typically, woodpeckers search for food lower on the tree. If they are putting holes higher up, that indicates there is some sort of pest that makes for a good food source.
Osthus said if you find signs of EAB you should report the issue to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for confirmation using the Report a Pest Plant Protection phone number at 1-888-545-6684, or email them at: email@example.com. Providing photos of the damage is extremely helpful, according to Osthus.
Once you make your report, the MDA will send you resources on how to potentially deal with the problem.
Treatment for existing Emerald Ash Borer should be handled by an arborist to make sure the chemicals don’t damage surrounding flora.
There is a chance to prevent Emerald Ash Borer in unaffected trees before they can cause any damage. Trees under 15 inches diameter can be treated without calling a professional. The details on how to treat trees can be found on the MDA’s website.
For trees over 15 inches in diameter, you will need a professional arborist to treat the tree. The MDA has a list of arborists on its website that can help you protect your trees.
Osthus said over the winter months they will be looking for a viable area in Isanti County for biological control of the Emerald Ash Borer. The ideal location would be a large track of forested area with groves of ash trees. Biological control consists of releasing three “harmless to human” wasps. Two of the wasps attack the larva of the ash borer under the bark. The third attacks the eggs of the EAB.
Officials from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will host a virtual informational meeting for residents on Nov. 30 from 10 to 11 a.m. To register for the meeting and learn more about the wood movement quarantine and tree treatments go to the MDA website: www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.