EAB Management-Why Plan Now
Most people realize the tough reality that emerald ash borer (EAB) is popping up in communities throughout the Lake States. Even though this insect only moves a half mile per year on its own, it will travel much farther when assisted by humans. With this in mind, the time is now to plan for EAB.
Communities At Risk
All Ohio communities are at risk for an EAB infestation, but some have higher risk levels than others. Communities located near known infestations, major roadways, tourist areas, or campgrounds have increased probability that EAB could be introduced through travelers toting firewood. Other factors contributing to community risk are sawmills, tree care companies, and even nurseries that could unknowingly import infested ash tree material in their daily operations.
It is important to realize that ash trees infested by EAB, including healthy trees, die in three to five years and quickly become safety hazards. It is critical for a community to prevent its streets from being littered with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dying ash trees threatening to topple onto streets, homes, vehicles, or even citizens. Therefore, developing and implementing an EAB Management Plan before EAB infests a community offers a proactive alternative to costly damages and emergency clean up (examples). It justifies expenditures and shows citizens that community leaders are wisely using tax dollars.
Elements of an EAB Management Plan
In order to manage a resource, you must know what you have. Communities can do this by utilizing an existing tree inventory or doing an ash tree inventory to locate the trees and document their current condition. Other basic elements communities should outline in a management plan include budgeting, tree removal, wood utilization/disposal, replanting efforts, follow-up tree care, and policy about how private trees will be addressed. Let’s not forget that someone needs to administer your program and that public education and communication are important components in the success of any program.
Assistance Is Available
The Ohio Division of Forestry has developed a template to help communities get started on an EAB Management Plan. Regional urban foresters are available to assist communities in developing a customized plan based on local needs and goals. Every plan is different, depending on each community’s unique situation. Emerald Ash Borer is not an easy pest to manage, but planning will certainly help take some of the guessing out of the equation.