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Invasive Species Update

emerald ashEmerald Ash Borer Verified In Columbia Heights  

The Emerald Ash Borer beetle was officially confirmed in Columbia Heights in July 2019. The DNR estimates that more than 5000 ash trees are growing in the City, and the vast majority of those trees are on private properties.

What This Means For Your Ash Trees?
There’s little time to spare. Untreated ash trees in Columbia Heights will likely die within the next two to five years. If they’re already showing noticeable signs of infestation, it’s probably too late for preventive treatment. When ash trees show visible signs of infestation, they decline very quickly. They get brittle, more expensive to remove, and more likely to lose branches during a storm, which turns them into safety hazards and liabilities.

Two Viable Paths Forward for Your Ash Trees:

  1. Preventative Chemical Treatment 
    Chemical Treatment Systemic trunk injections of emamectin benzoate 4% performed by a licensed and bonded tree care expert once every three years can be highly effective in treating and preventing EAB infections. Treatments will have to be repeated every three years as long as EAB populations remain high in the area, likely ten years at a minimum. Mid-May to mid-June is the optimal time for injections in Minnesota. Please keep in mind that chemical treatments are only effective on ash trees that are still healthy or only lightly to moderately affected by EAB. Consult an ISA certified arborist or the City’s forester (763 706-3708) to determine if your ash trees are good candidates for treatment.
  2. Removal
    If the tree is already showing noticeable signs of disease resulting from EAB, the only viable option is removal. The best time to remove trees is during the dormant season, January to March. Tree removals in Columbia Heights must be performed by contractors licensed to work within the City. Always choose a licensed, bonded, and insured tree care professional and seek multiple estimates if possible. Keep in mind, Anoka County is under formal EAB quarantine established by the MN Department of Agriculture. All wood and waste from ash tree removals are subject to regulation under the MDA quarantine and must be disposed of properly.

Identifying Infestations
Residents are encouraged to look at their ash trees for signs of EAB. Checking for EAB, reporting possible infestations, and following quarantines can slow the spread of EAB.

  • When Checking for EAB: Be sure you’ve identified an ash tree. EAB only feeds on ash trees.
  • Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like EAB larvae and woodpecker holes 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.
  • Look for branches spouting from the middle of tree while top branches are thinning

If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, visit arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or call 888-545-6684.

Tips to Keep EAB From Spreading
The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae.

  • Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from approved vendors, and burn it where you buy it.
  • Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips, and firewood. Anoka County is under quarantine.

For detailed information about EAB identification, treatment and/or removal options, please visit www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

City's EAB Management Plan for Public Spaces
The City of Columbia Heights has been preparing for the ash borer's arrival since 2013, when City leaders adopted a plan to prepare for and manage it. Crews have removed unhealthy ash trees and used two-year, ongoing cycle treatments for larger, healthy trees.

More Resources and History of EAB
The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) was introduced to the United States from Asia and first detected in southeast Michigan in June 2002.  This destructive beetle has killed tens of millions of ash trees where it has been discovered.
EAB was discovered in St. Paul in May 2009. There are approximately 870 million ash trees in Minnesota, one of the largest concentrations of any state in the country.

Select the following links for more information:  mda.state.mndnr.state.mn, EAB University webinars. Or find more information here:                       

Contact
For specific questions or consultation, call the City forester at 763 706-3708 or email LGenter@columbiaheightsmn.gov. For questions about firewood regulations, contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6684 (metro) or 888-545-6684 (greater Minnesota).