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Extension > Extension in your Community > Itasca > County Natural Resource Educator > Articles > Itasca County Wood Basket: providing information and resources to help folks learn about trees and woods

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Itasca County Wood Basket: providing information and resources to help folks learn about trees and woods

Recently there has been a lot of activity in the area of  invasive species and forest health in Minnesota which is naturally very significant for Itasca County. Specifically, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture instituted a statewide quarantine for the mountain pine beetle and emerald ash borer was confirmed in a new county in the state.  Subsequent actions are two excellent examples of how the state is being proactive to slow the spread of these invasive species within Minnesota.

Mountain pine beetle – statewide quarantine
Effective January 1, 2015, the MDA has issued a statewide quarantine to protect Minnesota’s vast pine forests from the mountain pine beetle. This exterior quarantine is designed to stop the spread of any wood infested with the beetle into Minnesota. In addition to the beetle itself, the movement of pine wood with intact bark is prohibited through the quarantine.

Native to western North America, the mountain pine beetle is known as one of the most damaging forest insects in the continent. Currently, 13 western US states have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle. The beetles inhabit a large variety of pine species by laying eggs underneath the bark and spending the majority of their life cycle there. It is unknown how these beetles may impact Minnesota’s eastern pine species, primarily red and eastern white pine.

For more information visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s website.

Emerald ash borer – six counties quarantined in Minnesota

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis was recently observed in the city of Eagan, making Dakota county the sixth county in Minnesota to be quarantined. Other counties under quarantine include: Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, and Winona Counties. State and federal quarantine for Dakota County is established to limit the spread of EAB outside of quarantine areas and includes ash trees, wood chips and hardwood firewood.

Emerald Ash Borer, is a non-native insect that kills all species of ash. Ash trees are killed as insect larvae move underneath a tree’s bark. Minnesota has a tremendous volume of ash trees in its forests and cities, which speaks to the concern of EAB across the state. The first finding of EAB was confirmed in Minnesota in Ramsey County in 2009.

What can you do as landowner to be proactive in fighting against EAB? Learn as much as you can about the pest and your land. An excellent resource is the Ash Management Guidelines for Private Forest Landowners; developed by MN DNR and Extension. Copies of the publication are available at the Itasca County Extension office in Grand Rapids.