Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Erie
State experts have confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) – an invasive, highly destructive tree pest – in the Town of Erie.
A resident of Erie found an adult EAB on private property in the Historic Old Town area of Erie. This person contacted Patrick Plummer, forester with the Town of Erie, who collected and provided the EAB specimen to entomologists with the Colorado State Forest Service and Colorado State University. The experts confirmed the insect specimen as EAB. Experts from the CSFS and CSU Extension joined Plummer at the site where the specimen was found, but they did not find EAB-infested trees. The specimen, however, confirms the presence of EAB within the town of Erie for the first time.
It is unknown whether EAB arrived in Erie by natural spread or via accidental human transport, such as in firewood or other raw ash material. Populations of the insect are capable of spreading a half-mile each year on their own, and Erie is adjacent to other municipalities with known EAB infestations.
“At this point, I can only speculate as to how EAB arrived in Erie,” Plummer said. “In Old Town, we do have quite a few residents who have collections of firewood, so I wouldn’t rule out this possibility.”
Many Front Range communities are managing for EAB before its arrival, including Erie. The Town has been selectively removing less-desirable public ash trees in preparation for EAB for several years, while treating more valuable, targeted ash trees to protect them from EAB. The Town offers several incentive programs for Erie residents and HOAs to help with the cost of planting new trees to replace ash.
EAB was first confirmed in Colorado in 2013 in the City of Boulder. Since then, EAB has spread to other cities and towns on the Front Range.
With ash trees estimated to comprise 15% or more of all urban trees in Colorado, this non-native, invasive pest poses a serious threat to urban forests. EAB attacks and kills both stressed and healthy ash trees and is so aggressive that trees typically die within two to four years after becoming infested.
EAB Tips for Front Range Residents
- Determine now if you have any ash trees. Identifying features of ash trees include compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets; leaflets, buds and branches growing directly opposite from one another; and diamond-shaped bark ridges on mature trees. More information about ash tree identification, including a helpful app, is at csfs.colostate.edu/eab.
- If you have an ash tree, start planning. Decide if the overall health of the tree and the benefits it provides merit current or future treatment, or if it would be best to remove and replace it with a different species. If you are not sure, contact your local CSU Extension horticulture agent or an ISA Certified Arborist. If you do plan to treat the tree, the CSFS offers recommendations for selecting a tree care company.
- Plant trees. Replace ash trees in poor health with diverse species. The Colorado Department of Agriculture offers a database of registered nurseries and landscape contractors.
- Recognize signs of EAB infestation. Property owners with ash trees should be on the lookout for thinning of leaves in the upper tree canopy, 1/8-inch D-shaped holes on the bark and vertical bark splitting with winding S-shaped tunnels underneath. Report suspect trees by calling the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 1-888-248-5535 or filling out their EAB Report Form at https://ag.colorado.gov/eab-identification-and-reporting.
- Help prevent further spread of EAB. Do not transport ash or any hardwood firewood, or any other untreated ash wood products, to other locations outside the Front Range. Dispose of ash wood safely by chipping, composting, milling into lumber or taking to a landfill.
For more information about ash tree identification, the symptoms of EAB, treatment options and how to use ash wood, go to csfs.colostate.edu/eab.
For more information about forestry services for Erie residents, visit www.erieco.gov/171/Forestry.