Image for Emerald Ash Borer Management for Municipalities PostIssues that municipalities need to address for management of emerald ash borer include:

A). Tree inventories

A tree inventory can guide municipalities on how to develop a successful emerald ash borer management strategy. Municipal employees often complete the inventory themselves using specialized software programs. Employees collect data about every tree within a municipality, including tree size, location, species, structural integrity and value.

A tree inventory helps determine the types of trees that make up the municipality’s urban landscape. Trees are identified as:

  • Legacy Trees: those with significant value to a community that cannot easily be replaced.

  • High Value Trees: those that have high value in highly-visible locations, but which are not as large as Legacy Trees.

  • Casual Trees: smaller trees of lower value that can be replaced easily.

B). Preparation

It is vital that municipalities develop a treatment plan before emerald ash borer infestation is discovered because, in many cases, by the time an infestation is confirmed (potentially years after the beetle began infesting ash) many trees are already in decline.

Municipalities can begin creating an emerald ash borer management plan by first conducting a tree inventory to determine the numbers of Legacy, High Value and Casual trees within the city limits. Once an inventory is complete, the municipality can determine which trees to treat with insecticides for the prevention of emerald ash borer and which trees may need to be replaced during an infestation. Such a management plan will likely include a combination of removing dying ash trees, preemptively removing healthy casual trees, and treating trees with insecticides.

Municipalities can also take measures to inform their citizens about emerald ash borer and the coming infestation. An informed community is more likely to take small measures to help curb the pest than a community that has no information (or is misinformed) about the issue.

C). Prevention

Emerald ash borer does not have to devastate a city’s ash tree population! It is possible to preventatively treat for this pest with approved insecticides. Insecticide treatment options include soil drench applications, soil injections, and tree injections. Municipalities need to consider the unique costs and benefits of each treatment option when developing an EAB management plan.

Awareness is also a key component of preventing wide-spread emerald ash borer infestation. Municipalities can provide citizens with the facts about EAB and let them know how they can help save ash trees. Homeowners are able to treat trees themselves for minimal cost and effort. If non-city-owned trees are protected in addition to city-owned Legacy and High Value trees, emerald ash borer will have less opportunity to impact a community’s entire ash population.

D). Tree removals

Large-scale tree removals can cripple municipal budgets. While it is likely that some tree removals will be required as a result of infestation, preventatively treating trees for emerald ash borer can drastically reduce the municipality’s tree removal costs after EAB has arrived.

E). Budget

Each municipality has its own budgetary guidelines and restrictions. Unfortunately, most have not allocated funds for emerald ash borer management. However, the costs of preventatively treating ash trees with insecticides on a recurring basis is often far less expensive than removing and replanting trees. In many cases, a 20-inch diameter ash tree could be treated with a soil-applied insecticide for 24 years before exceeding the cost to remove the tree during its first year of emerald ash borer infestation.

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