By Kate Van Daele
The City of Duluth in its efforts to mitigate the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle in local ash trees will be expanding the timeframe for removing impacted trees.
Previously, the city has removed ash trees in the spring and late fall after flight season has ended. This year, the city has been approved to continue the removal process during flight season from May 1 to September 30.
“Due to COVID-19, we weren’t able to remove ash trees last spring as we had in the past,” City Forrester Clark Christensen said. “The city will be playing catch-up this summer by removing trees street trees during the flight season, which we have not done before.”
The city is concentrating on removing infested ash trees within areas of the city. Crews will be removing identified street trees and trees in undeveloped areas adjacent to roads. Crews will start removing trees during the week of July 12. City staff will also be stepping up efforts to reach out to homeowners with infested trees on private property with informative mailers and flyers this summer.
“Emerald Ash Boer is pretty well distributed within Duluth like other cities in our area,” said Christensen. “Adding two additional seasons to remove infested trees will help us to stop the spread of EAB while continuing the work of the city’s EAB Management Plan.”
When removing infected trees in undeveloped areas, city crews will chip as much of the trees back onto the property as possible to not move the wood. Street trees would be transported back to the city’s woodpile and be kept until the fall when the adult EABs have flown and can be chipped at that time. Woodchips are used for landscaping at city parks.
Adult borers typically fly less than ½-mile from their emergence tree. Most long-distance movement of EAB has been directly traced to human movement of ash firewood and other infested materials. Larvae feed and pupates within an inch of the bark and can emerge up to a couple of years later.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture implemented quarantine restrictions that regulate the movement of ash logs and lumber, ash tree waste, ash chips, mulch, and all hardwood firewood. The City of Duluth reminds residents and visitors not to transport firewood within the city and the southern part of St. Louis County to stop the spread of EAB.
As of 2018, Emerald Ash Borer has been found in 35 states, including Minnesota.