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City of Ithaca News

Posted on: August 18, 2020

An Update on the Emerald Ash Borer Infestation in the Community

Ash

This is a public service notice from the City of Ithaca Parks and Forestry Division regarding the progression of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation in our community. The EAB is an invasive pest that eats the tissue just beneath the bark of Ash trees and will eventually cause tree death. EAB has been in the area for a few years now and as such, Ash trees in the area are beginning to show a decline in health and vigor due to the insect. As the insect population builds up in the area death rates of Ash trees will accelerate.The Ash trees along the City streets are inspected annually by our staff and are being managed for the infestation.

We have noticed in some neighborhoods there are very large ash trees that span over multiple backyards and we have noticed some are showing signs of EAB infestation. If you have an ash tree on your property, there are steps that should be taken soon to protect the tree and your property.

Signs that an Ash tree is infested with EAB includes thin canopy or dead branches in the top and center of the canopy. There will also likely be woodpecker damage, called “blonding” where sections of bark take on a light blonde color (as opposed to the normal gray color) due to woodpeckers’ excavation to find EAB larva under the bark.

Lightly infested Ash trees can be treated with pesticides that will kill the insects and help to preserve the tree. However, pesticide applications can be costly and the pesticides will need to be reapplied periodically as the insect pests will persist in the area for a decade or more. We recommend contacting a certified pesticide applicator if you choose this option.

Infested trees that are not treated with pesticides will die. Therefore the other option to consider is removal of the infested trees. Whether the tree completely dies in one year or over the course of a few years, dead and dying trees are hazardous to the health and safety of people and property around them.  Completely dead trees are much more hazardous and generally more expensive to remove than trees that still have life in them. If you have an Ash tree on your property, the cost of doing nothing now will be much greater than if you take action to mitigate the risks soon.

More information can be found at  http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ including a comprehensive document “Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash”. Attached are two documents from that site; one on Ash tree ID and another on signs of EAB in Ash trees.

If after consulting the attached documents, you have a question about whether the tree in your yard is an Ash, you can contact our office at Parks and Forestry and we can confirm tree species through photos (leaf, twig and bark) or a site visit if necessary. Please contact the Forestry Technician, Kevin Vorstadt at  kvorstadt@cityofithaca.org 


How to Identify Ash Trees

Signs and Symptoms of the Emerald Ash Borer


Stay safe and be well,
Parks & Forestry Staff

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