The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has quickly become one of the most destructive exotic forest insects ever introduced into the United States. It only attacks and kills green, white, blue and black ash as well as several horticultural ash varieties. It kills both healthy and stressed trees.
EAB is present in 16 Ohio counties, thirteen of them being quarantined. Once an area is quarantined, strict Ohio Department of Agriculture regulations are set in place with heavy fines being charged to violators. EAB has been moving east and is only 30 miles west of the City of Lakewood. The City of Vermillion is under State quarantine.
There is no cure for this pest. Once it has been identified, an eradication program is put into place. Basically the plan is to remove and dispose of ALL ash trees within a ½ mile radius of the known source. There are NO federal or state monies to do this work. Also once quarantined extra money is needed to process the removed ash trees.
So there are two things we can do. Nothing and wait until the borer arrives, or be proactive and institute an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan. This plan is a written document outlining our City's objectives and approaches we will use to meet the anticipated impact of the EAB on our urban forest.
Lakewood has 397 ash trees on its streets and in our parks. Systemically removing and replacing trees prior to a positive EAB find would save thousands of dollars in disposal cost alone.
This action would upset the residents by removing what appear to be healthy trees. An education program should be in place before the first tree is removed. While our management plan addresses trees on City property, there are a lot of ash trees on private property. EAB will attack and kill these trees also. Dead and dying ash trees not promptly removed by the property owner may pose a safety concern to adjacent private and public sites.
A few questions come to mind.
- Will the City remove or subsidize the property owner in removing infected or dead ash trees?
- Will the Building Department cite homeowners for infected or dead ash trees?
- Will private tree contractors follow the guidelines for proper disposal?
In conclusion EAB is under a great deal of scientific scrutiny now. New information and discoveries will improve our ability to detect, control and eradicate this beetle.
Read Complete City of Lakewood Emerald Ash Borer Report »
For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture website at www.ohioagriculture.gov/eab.