This week, emerald ash borer (EAB) was detected in Lafayette, Colorado – still within the quarantine area established to prevent the spread after first being discovered in Boulder in 2013. The pest has also been confirmed in Gunbarrel and Longmont, Colorado at this time.
It is still unclear whether the insect arrived in Lafayette on a natural path, or unknowingly by human transportation on contaminated wood or brush.
“Having a new detection in this area was not unexpected, but certainly highlights the need for Front Range communities to be planning now, before EAB arrives,” said Keith Wood, CSFS community forestry program manager.
Emerald ash borer is considered the most destructive forest pest ever in North America. It is responsible for killing more than 50 million ash trees in 29 states. Across the front range of Colorado, 1 out of 6 trees are at risk.
Emerald ash borer threatens Lafayette
Lafayette has approximately 22,000 ash tress. City-owned lands comprise only about 3 percent of the overall ash population. The majority of the trees are on private land. The City will not be treating private ash trees and recommends that residents take action now to assess and evaluate treatment for their trees.
Tips from the Colorado State Forest Service:
Determine now if you have any ash trees. Identifying features of ash trees include compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets; leaflets, buds and branches growing directly opposite from one another; and diamond-shaped bark ridges on mature trees. More information about a related app for mobile devices is available at www.csfs.colostate.edu/emerald-ash-borer.
If you have an ash tree, start planning. Decide if the overall health of the tree merits current or future treatment or if it would be best to remove and replace it with a different species. If you aren’t sure, contact a certified arborist. If pesticide treatment is the preferred option, the applicator must be licensed by the CDA as a Commercial Pesticide Applicator.
Recognize signs of EAB infestation. Property owners with ash trees should be on the lookout for thinning of leaves in the upper tree canopy, 1/8-inch D-shaped holes on the bark and vertical bark splitting with winding S-shaped tunnels underneath. Report suspect trees by calling the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 1-888-248-5535 or filling out their EAB Report Form at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agplants/eab-identification-and-reporting.
Be aware of EAB imposters. Other insects like lilac/ash borer, ash bark beetle and flat-headed apple tree borer may look like EAB or cause similar tree symptoms. For more information, visit www.eabcolorado.com.
Help prevent further spread of EAB. Do not transport ash or any hardwood firewood, or any other untreated ash wood products, to other locations. Boulder County and some surrounding areas are under a federal EAB quarantine, allowing for significant fines for those who move untreated wood from the area.