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Emerald Ash Borer found in Wright County – What does that Mean for Surrounding Counties?

S-shaped EAB galleries.  Photo credit: Jeffrey Hahn, University of MN

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News    
October 24, 2018                                    
Source:        Katie Winslow, Extension Educator-Horticulture
University of Minnesota Extension 
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Emerald Ash Borer found in Wright County – What does that Mean for Surrounding Counties?
By Katie Winslow, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (10/24/2018) — You have likely heard by now that on September 13, 2018 the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Clearwater, Minnesota which is located in Wright County. This discovery led to an immediate quarantine for Wright County. Now, you may be wondering what that means for you as a resident in a surrounding county. 

Let’s start with a few definitions from the MDA around the wood. A log is defined as anything not split and greater than four feet in length. While firewood is anything less than four feet in length and may or may not be split. There are many reasons behind this definition with the most basic being that it becomes more difficult to identify wood once it has been split; especially if the bark has been removed. 

The quarantine for Wright County states all plants and plant parts of the Ash tree (genus; Fraxinus) including but not limited to: logs and green lumber, nursery stock, scion wood, and bud wood, chips and mulch, either composted or uncomposted, stumps, roots, and branches, and firewood of any non-coniferous (hardwood) species cannot be moved out of Wright County. If you are found to be transporting any of the above mentioned items there is a fine of $7,500. This fine can be avoided by following the guidelines stated above. There are certain exceptions that can be dealt with by obtaining a compliance agreement from the MDA. 

With the infected area being so close it is recommended that you begin keeping a closer eye on your ash trees if you have them. Ash trees have opposite branching, compound leaves and 5 to many leaflets. An infestation of EAB can lead to bark cracks as the larvae tunnel beneath the bark. In those cracks you would see distinct S-shaped galleries. You may also notice an increase in woodpecker holes as the EAB larvae make for a good source of food for the woodpecker. The Stearns, Benton and Morrison County Extension offices has many helpful handouts available if you are in need of them to help with identification. 

In the meantime there are many things that you can do to help your tree population. You may consider replacing your ash trees with another type of tree before EAB spreads. Once an ash tree becomes infected with an EAB population it will die quickly. This can lead to an increased danger for you and your property as dead trees will break and fall more easily. It also becomes more expensive to remove trees once they are dead due to the increased danger to the worker. If you decide to keep your ash tree you should consider treating with an insecticide. When using an insecticide of any kind you must read and follow all label directions. The MDA, as well as, the University of Minnesota Extension has resources available to help you when choosing which insecticide to use and when to apply it. 

The best way to stop the continued spread of the Emerald Ash Borer is to stop moving firewood. It is always best to buy your firewood locally and burn it where you buy it. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer please reach out to your local county Extension office (Stearns, Benton and Morrison 320-255-6169 ex.1) or the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Communications, was used in preparing this news release. 


PHOTO CAPTION: S-shaped EAB galleries.  Photo credit: Jeffrey Hahn, University of MN