MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - It’s been known that Emerald Ash Borer has been found in 20 counties across the state, but that was mainly in the southeastern portion and into areas the metro area.
Now, a few outliers along Interstate 90 in southern Minnesota have been discovered; prompting a quarantine for Martin and Nobles County. When a county is under quarantine, the movement of any type of hardwood firewood out of the county is halted and residents are put on alert for possible damage.
“First and foremost, you need to make sure you have an ash tree. Good tree ID is what you need first,” said Jonathan Osthus, a research scientist for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. "And then, looking for woodpecker damage in the mid-to-upper canopy and generally on branches between 3 to 5 inches in diameter. That’s where it’s first going to start and you’ll see some blonding on the bark and little woodpeck holes that go down just to the surface of the wood, where they’re looking for the emerald ash larvae that are underneath the bark.”
With no natural defense mechanisms to combat the insects, ash trees die rapidly once infested, which is usually within four to five years.
“For trees in your own yard or high value trees in landscaped areas, you can treat with insecticides and, so, that is effective, but its something you have to do either yearly or every other year for the life of the tree,” Osthus added.
The Department of Agriculture is always on the lookout for any potential new invaders that could cause harm to Minnesota trees.
“We have what’s called our Forest Pathway Survey and, so, statewide we have multiple types of insect traps set up to look for exotic wood boring beetles and, so, there’s a whole, about, 12 different insects that we’re looking for, that haven’t been found in either the U.S. or in Minnesota,” Osthus continued.
Residents who have evidence of Emerald Ash Borer can report it to the Minnesota Department of Agricultral several ways. Resident can:
If you are doing tree maintenance, it’s best to use a certified arborist.
And do not move firewood - burn it where you buy it.