The Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced today the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) in North Platte. A tree in the city’s Memorial Park was found with definitive evidence of EAB, including distinctive D-shaped holes in the trunk and winding tunnels below the bark. The discovery is the westernmost known infestation of this tree-killing pest in the state. In addition, an EAB sample was also identified in a trap at Indian Cave State Park in Nemaha County.
EAB is named for the bright metallic green color of the adult beetles. The insect attacks and kills all species of North American ash, including white and green ash and cultivars such as autumn purple, Patmore, and Marshall’s Seedless ash.
“As EAB populations build over the years, tree mortality will increase,” said Jennifer Morris, Forest Health Specialist with the Nebraska Forest Service. “With the added stress from drought, North Platte and Indian Cave State Park will experience great losses in the ash canopy over the next decade.”
Residents with ash trees on their property who live within 15 miles the two infestations should begin making plans to either treat or remove the trees. The optimal time for treatment is spring, although professional trunk injections applied in summer will give some protection.
“Not all ash trees are suitable candidates for treatments,” Morris said. “Because treatments must be done for the life of the tree, property owners should take time to assess their trees, choosing only high-value trees in good health for treatment.”
Removal and replacement with a different tree may be a better option.
If ash trees are removed, they should be replaced with a diverse selection of trees, not just a few species. This will help avoid another significant loss of the urban tree canopy when the next serious pest arrives. Fall is an ideal time to plant replacement trees.
The Nebraska Forest Service recommends contacting insured, certified arborists for tree removals. You can find a list of certified arborists through the Nebraska Arborist Association or International Society of Arborists