Trees with emerald ash borer can still be saved—if you hurry

Metro Wire Staff

February and March is the good time to spot signs of emerald ash borer, the city forester says.

Forester Todd Ernster said EAB was first confirmed in Stevens Point in April 2016. Since then, he said, his crew has spotted infested trees scattered throughout the entire city.  

“February and March are good times to look for woodpecker damage to ash trees—known as ‘flecking’—and potentially find new EAB infestations or expansions of known infestations,” Ernster said in an email. “Winter scouting has allowed us to detect ash mortality from EAB in unexpected places.”  

Residents with infested ash trees smaller than 12 inches in diameter can successfully treat their own tree with products bought at home and garden centers, Ernster said. Products such as Ortho Bug-B-Gone Year Long Tree and Shrub Insect Control, or Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protection, are examples of insecticides labeled to control EAB, as both contain the active ingredient of imidicloprid.

Ernster recommends a demonstration video of using the products at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLEVxteP7OQ.

Residents with ash trees larger than 12 inches in diameter should contact an arborist for treatment, he said, as other insecticides are more effective to protect larger ash trees—which require special training and certification to apply. Residents should obtain multiple estimates, he said. 

City crews are already scheduled to treat 550 city-owned ash street trees, most located between the street and sidewalk. Another 100 or so are slated for removal this year to contain the spread, and another 225 ash trees will be replaced in city parks over the next two years. 

“Ash trees left untreated in the city will be infested to some degree within five years, and will begin to die off in large numbers within seven years,” Ernster said. “If residents have any desire to save ash trees on their property, they must act now.”

For more information regarding EAB, go to Stevenspoint.com/eab.