Recognizing and stopping the Emerald Ash Borer, now that it’s here
Arguably, one of the most beautiful things about the Northwoods, especially this time of year, is the trees. But the recent discovery of the destructive Emerald Ash Borer in Rhinelander could decimate the ash tree population. Because of that, no ash or other hardwood is allowed to be moved out of Oneida County for use as firewood. The county is under quarantine.
“There won’t be a problem for people in Oneida County getting firewood from other places. Wood can be brought into a quarantines county, but no hardwood can be moved out,” said Jesse Arndt from Arndt Forest Products, LLC. “For someone who wants to take the rest of their firewood from their cabin back to Appleton, well, that’s just not going to happen.”
There is a $1,000 fine for failure to comply.
Of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, Oneida is the 37th county where the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, has been found. Oneida County is only the second county in northern Wisconsin to face this issue, with Douglas County being the first. As with many invasives, they are most easily moved by humans.
As a Certified Firewood Dealer, Arndt explained, “Certified wood, like the firewood we have for sale at in Rhinelander, can be brought anywhere.” The problem comes in when individuals want to move wood from one place to another. Arndt says the best idea is to just not move any firewood.
Jennifer Statz from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says there are several ways to determine if an ash tree may be infested with EAB. Thinning of the canopy can mean many things, but EAB kills ash trees from the top down, so this thinning could be a sign. New growth at the base of the tree comes along with the thinning of the canopy. An unhealthy tree will try to make up for the loss of leaves at the top of the tree by sprouting near the bottom of the tree on the ground or even from the base of the tree itself.
Vertical bark splitting is another sign that a tree may be infested with EAB. This happens because the ash borers attack the tissue that holds the bark to the tree. Individuals may also notice some woodpecker damage that is unlike the normal holes seen in many trees. In the case of EAB, woodpeckers often scrape the bark from the tree rather than create the traditional hole, in order to eat the insect larvae.
“None of these symptoms alone mean a tree has EAB, “Statz says, “But seeing at least three of these symptoms is a sign that an ash tree could have EAB infestation. It is best to take pictures and send them in, or capture one of the insects.” Information should be sent to www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov
If a homeowner finds an ash tree with EAB on his or her property, the DNR should be notified. Notifications can be made through the website, or by calling 800-462-2803.If the tree is deemed by the home owner to have value, it can be treated by an arborist or tree service. If a homeowner decides to cut the tree down, it should be cut down and immediately chipped to ensure that all EAB and its larvae are dead and will pose no threat to other trees.
“It’s best to chip the logs up right away,” according to Todd Foley from Foley’s Tree Service. “We have a special chipper that chips logs up into a small enough piece that it even kills the bugs themselves. That is really the only way to ensure that nearby trees won’t get infected.”
In some cases, a homeowner may decide to keep a tree rather than remove it. “There is a preventative treatment that can be done,” Foley stated. “A certified tree service has access to the best injectable chemicals. Individuals cannot legally inject anything into the soil or the tree, where a certified tree service can. The biggest thing to know is that even if a tree is in decline, if the canopy is thinning, if a tree is in decline even up to 50%, injecting it can bring the tree back to health.”
Home owners also have the option to protect trees from becoming infected. A certified tree service will give home owners and estimate on the costs involved. All suspected infestations should be reported to the DNR.