Options to weigh in fight against emerald ash borer

In this article with ABC Newspapers, Nate Shaw, sales arborist for Davey's North Minneapolis office, tells readers about the different options homeowners have when it comes to EAB. 

Posted: June 21, 2016

By Eric Hagen 

It has been more than one year since the destructive emerald ash borer was discovered in Anoka County.

There is a high concentration of the borer in a neighborhood in Ramsey County’s Shoreview just south of the Blaine border, but so far Ham Lake has been the only Anoka County community to see this tree disease.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture first confirmed a case in Ham Lake on March 25, 2015. There are currently six confirmed cases.

“The biggest thing is education for residents and elected officials,” said Andover Natural Resources Technician Kameron Kytonen. “I am a little bit surprised that it hasn’t been found elsewhere in Anoka County.”

Nate Shaw, a sales arborist with a tree service company named Davey, said ash were the tree of choice to replace elms killed in the 1960s through the 1980s in the Midwest by Dutch elm disease. Ash trees were popular because they grew fast, provided a lot of shade in the summer, looked beautiful in the fall when the leaves changed colors and were durable.

“The cities and builders and homeowners could all get them easily, throw them in the ground and you have a 30-foot tree in 10 years. You can’t get that from many tree species,” Shaw said. “It was really a desirable species, but now this foreign pest, emerald ash borer, has made its way up here and it’s going to do a lot of damage.”

The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle from Asia that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 24 states. It was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009, a state that has more ash trees than any in the nation, according to the MDA. The beetle’s larvae tunnels into the wood and feeds off the tree’s nutrients. The insects typically travel only half-a-mile a year on its own, but can move faster if infected firewood is transported to a property with ash trees.

Anoka was the was the seventh Minnesota county to have discover the invasive borer, which led to the MDA imposing a quarantine to prevent firewood from crossing county lines. Today, there are a dozen counties in quarantine zones.

Shaw saw the damage done by the ash borer when he was working in Davey’s Chicago office. Pre-treating ash trees to save them, or removing trees, was a big revenue generator and he moved up to the Twin Cities in 2010 just one year after the disease was found here.

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