Stopping the spread of Emerald Ash Borer

It seems that hardly any time has gone by and I was mentioning that Emerald Ash borer was found in Steele County and Nobles County. A scant few weeks went by and now it is in New Ulm (Brown County). It may now be a good time to revisit how not to pass the insect around as well as what to look for in ash trees if you think they have it.

The best tool to use is the information located on the Minnesota Department of Ag’s website which is located at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/eab. According to the MDA’s website, “EAB is an insect that attacks and kills ash trees. It is spread through short distance natural flight and infested firewood transported long distance. The adults are small, iridescent green beetles that live outside of trees during the summer months. The larvae are grub or worm-like and live underneath the bark of ash trees. Trees are killed by the tunneling of the larvae under the tree’s bark.” 

There are some biological controls that are being used to slow or stop the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). According to the MDA website, “The goal of EAB biological control is to use natural enemies to bring EAB populations into balance and reduce damage.  Biological control is the only management option that can be applied at the forest landscape level. Three parasitoid wasp species are released in Minnesota. Two species attacks the larval stage of EAB under the ash bark. The other species kills EAB eggs that are in bark crevices. These wasps are small like gnats and do not harm humans. They were selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Forest Service and tested extensively to ensure that they will not negatively impact other species or the environment. APHIS rears these biological control agents at a specialized facility in Brighton, MI and provides them to states with EAB infestations.” 

So, as you can see, there are some things that are being tried out. However, if you have an ash tree in your yard, it might be worth your time to consider the fact that the tree may need to be eventually taken down and replaced. It is so important to understand that we should not be planting the same species of trees in large numbers. Mother Nature works best when it is diversified so we need to pay attention to that and follow her lead. The U of M Extension has a very long list of trees that work well for various growing conditions.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, time is running short to sign up. Master Gardeners are not necessarily “Masters” in gardening but we are trained in the art of how to “Master” finding answers to some of gardening’s toughest questions. In becoming a Master Gardener, you have many resources at your fingertips to help you answer questions and to give classes on things you love to do in the garden setting. If you are interested, please contact me or sign up through the U of M Extension website, Master Gardener program. For more information, please email me at s.dejaeghere@me.com