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Emerald ash borer larvae discovered in Moorhead neighborhood
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed that larvae found by City of Moorhead Forestry Department staff during annual winter tree pruning are emerald ash borer (EAB) larvae. The discovery was made in early February in the Meadows neighborhood near Clearview Court and Eagle Drive.
EAB is an invasive beetle that has been found in 36 states and the District of Columbia, killing millions of ash trees. Ash species in Moorhead that are susceptible to EAB include green ash, black ash, and white ash. Other tree species are not susceptible, including the many varieties of mountain ash.
Since ash trees comprise nearly 26% of the 26,500 trees in Moorhead’s urban forest, the City of Moorhead’s Forestry Department had already developed a long-term management plan to prepare for the arrival of EAB. The management plan recommends and implements the most effective and efficient practices to manage Moorhead’s urban forest for EAB. For example, the Forestry Division has been removing and replacing declining ash trees for several years at an average of 234 trees annually over the last three years.
The City has also been proactive in seeking grants to deal with this eventual issue, receiving $220,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since 2019. These funds have been used to proactively remove public ash trees and replace them with a diverse variety of tree species, as well as planting trees in underserved communities. The diversification of tree species creates a more resilient urban forest for the future.
What will the City do next?
Moorhead Forestry will immediately implement a plan to remove small ash trees that provide fewer benefits, while simultaneously treating and preserving larger ash trees, retaining the many benefits they provide. Forestry plans to replace all removed ash trees as soon as possible with primary planting taking place in spring and fall. Any homeowner who is impacted by removal or treatment of an ash tree will be notified in advance.
What should homeowners do?
Homeowners who have ash trees in their yards should develop a plan to manage their private trees. EAB can spread quickly, so determining options for private trees should be done soon, especially if homeowners wish to retain their trees. The MN Department of Agriculture has helpful information on its website, including resources specifically for homeowners.
Homeowners who need assistance identifying tree species or determining if trees are infested with EAB have several options, including contacting Moorhead Forestry at 218.299.5422 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Clay County Extension Educator at 218.299.7338 or email@example.com. Homeowners can find a list of licensed tree contractors on the City of Moorhead website in the forestry section.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will hold a virtual informational meeting on Thursday, March 16 at 10 am for anyone who is interested. Register here. The department's media release -- which also includes information about an emergency quarantine that limits the movement of firewood and ash material out of the affected area -- can be viewed here.