For Immediate Release: August 7, 2012
Contact: Rebekah Sweeney, (608) 266-3790
Jorgensen’s Journal: State Resources Available for Homeowners with Emerald Ash Borer Infestation
We plant trees with our children, and watch them grow through the years. We plant trees to shade our homes, and provide some relief from big utility bills. We plant trees because they’re beautiful, and add to our quality of life.
So, when a tree dies, it can be tough to take.
Sadly, as I’ve met with our neighbors in Whitewater these past few weeks, I’ve found many are faced with the prospect of losing trees or having to roll up their sleeves to try to save them, as the invasive insect species, Emerald Ash Borer has moved into our area.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a wood-boring beetle, metallic green in color and less than one-half inch in length. In the early stages of its life, EAB feeds on a spongy layer of wood just beneath the bark. Without this tissue, ash trees cannot properly absorb water and nutrients. Left untreated, most trees infested with EAB die from starvation within a few years.
EAB was first transported here from Asia in wooden packing crates. While the beetle only flies a few miles on its own, as people move EAB -infested firewood or ash nursery stock, it has quickly spread. In the past couple decades, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees, causing an $3.5 billion in damages.
Now, the bug’s in our backyard.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has issued a quarantine order for Rock and Walworth Counties, prohibiting the movement of all hardwood species of firewood, nursery stock, green lumber or ash wood logs, stumps, roots, branches or chips out of the area, unless items have been inspected, certified and exempted by a pest control official. This emergency move is aimed at preventing – or at least slowing – the spread of EAB.
Homeowners who have trees that are already infested with EAB may be forced to remove them, but if they aren’t too far gone, treatment may be an option. There are commercial sprays and soil additives available for use by homeowners, or an injectable insecticide which can be administered by an arborist. These products may also help to prevent an EAB infestation. Learn how to identify an ash tree and emerald ash borer, as well as what options you have for tree removal or treatment at: http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab
. You can also call the state EAB hotline with your questions, or to request a specialist come and check your trees; the number is 1-800-462-2803.
If you live in Jefferson or Dane Counties – counties adjacent but not included in the quarantine – be on the lookout for EAB. And, consider proactively treating your ash trees, in consult with a private arborist or a state specialist at DATCP or the local UW-Extension office.
As a member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, I get regular updates on the spread of EAB and will work to keep you informed. Please also feel free call me with any questions, toll-free, at (888) 534-0037. I’m here to serve you!