Identifying, protecting against Emerald Ash Borer

Identifying, protecting against Emerald Ash Borer

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA (KEYC) — Emerald Ash Borer is getting closer and closer to home.

Last week, Brown County issued a quarantine for any and all firewood in the county.

This means no firewood is allowed to leave the county as this is how the invasive beetle can spread.

“Early identification is key in management. There is really no talk of eradication at this point in time as it’s too widespread. Management is key. Just keeping the population at a manageable level,” Mankato Parks and Open Space Superintendent Ashley Steevens said.

In our region, Brown County and Martin Counties are the only counties that have been officially quarantined.

Near our region, Nobles County in southwest Minnesota is infested along with almost the entire southeast corridor.

Just because your county isn't listed doesn't mean you're safe, warning signs include excessive woodpecker feeding, bark splitting and random branch sprouts where they shouldn't be, mainly on the lower end of the trunk.

Don't fret, you can take protective measures with your ash trees.

“There are bark sprays, soil drenches and injections that can be done," Steevens added. "They are all very effective in combating emerald ash borer. On the smaller trees, generally, less than 10 inches (25.4 cm) in diameter, the bark sprays and soil drenches work very well. If you have larger trees, it’s more recommended to do the injections.”

Because these beetles originally came from Asia, our native ash trees struggle to fight the bug.

“Since a lot of our native plants and ecosystems don’t have defense against them, they can cause mass destruction,” said Steevens.

If you’re interested in learning more about the beetle, check out the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s homeowner’s guide to insecticidal use that outlines different products and when they should be applied in the document below.

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