By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Everyone within a 15 miles radius of a known emerald ash borer infestation should be on alert.
Given that an infestation was identified on main street, Caledonia, officials with the DNR, Minnesota Department of Ag and the University of Minnesota Extension office want citizens to know what their options are in the fight against the invasive pest.
“Most important is tree identification,” Valiree Green, Forester with the DNR in Houston County said. “We want them to make sure that it is indeed an ash tree.”
Homeowners have a range of options on how to deal with the pests.
•Identify: “Start insecticide treaments only when your property is within 15 miles of an EAB infestation,” Green said. “There are both commercial and homeowner applications that can be used for this.”
•Remove/replace: “It may not be cost effective to replace a small or struggling ash tree,” Green said. “In addition, trees in poor health are not likely to respond well to treatments.”
Green suggests identifying those trees that make sense to save and perhaps removing those that don’t.
“If a tree was always in the wrong spot, had to be cut to allow the power lines to go through them or is growing too close to your home, that tree might be one to consider removing,” Green said.
In applying treatments, literature suggests that “timing is everything.”
According to a University of Minnesota Extension office report, to ensure the insecticide is in the leaves by the time adults emerge to feed in early June, soil-applied insecticides available to homeowners are most effective when applied mid-to-late spring or in mid-fall.
Still, Green cautions, you should contact a certified arborist or forester to evaluate treatment options.
“There is a list being put together or area master gardners who are trained to spot possible EAB outbreaks,” Green said.
During an emerald ash borer meeting held on Wednesday, August 27, officials from Houston county and the city of Caledonia, including the mayor, were on hand to find out what their options are as a city.
“We’re recommending a wide spectrum of options,” Green said. “From treatment in some cases to replanting a diverse set of native replacement trees.”
Odds aren’t great that a tree who is experiencing a strong infestation of the creatures will survive. In fact, once a tree is infected it is only given a one-one-hundreth of a percent chance at survival.
It has also been discovered that some of the treatments being used, especially homeowner applications, aren’t very good for the bee population.
“If they aren’t applied correctly they can make their way into the other flowers on the property or on the bark and three of the four pesticides on the market are harmful to the bee population,” Green said.
For more information on EAB, if you think you might have an infestation on your property, or if you’d like to learn who can help you identify the pests, contact the Minnesota Department of Ag. “Arrest the Pest” hotline at 888-545-6684.
Or Google “Arrest the pest” where you can send them your questions in an on-line contact form.