Photo courtesy of Stephen Ausmus.
The emerald ash borer (Argilus planipennis) is an East Asian beetle that is a lethal threat to ash trees across the Northern Plains. This borer has been responsible for the loss of more than 50 million ash trees in the United States and Canada since its accidental introduction into Michigan during the 1990s. The borer was discovered in eastern Minnesota and Iowa by the mid to late 2000s and a little more than a year ago it was discovered in Colorado. The day the insect will be discovered in South Dakota is drawing near and when it does the impact will be severe.
While the aesthetic and economic impact of the loss of ash to this borer has been severe throughout this country, it will be particularly devastating when it reaches the Dakotas and Nebraska. It’s not that we have lots of trees in comparison to other states, but the trees we have are ash.
The emerald ash borer infests ash trees, no other genera with the exception of a recent find in a fringe tree. Emerald ash borer attacks and kills the native and most commonly occurring ash on the Northern Plains; black ash (Fraxinus nigra), green ash (F. pennsylvanica) and white ash (F. americana) along with their many cultivars. There are no cultivars of any of these species that are tolerant to attacks by this insect. We will lose most of our ash, native and planted, once the insect invades our state. The loss will not be at once across the state, but it takes about 10 years from the time the insect is discovered in a community until when they have lost all their untreated ash.
Defending Your Trees
There are effective treatments for managing emerald ash borer, but the costs are too high to protect all our ash, particularly those in shelterbelts. Decisions will need to be made on which trees to protect and which to remove. A further concern with emerald ash borer is that once infested trees die, they become very brittle and begin to fall very quickly and in unpredictable ways. Communities will not be able to just ignore this insect and its damage.
South Dakota State Unviersity | Brookngs, SD
- Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015
- Time: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (CDT)
- Registration: $40 (includes lunch)
- Deadline: March 3, 2015
To assist communities, parks, and conservation districts in preparing for this pest, a one-day symposium on emerald ash borer and other exotic threats will be held on the campus of South Dakota State University Tuesday, March 10. The symposium, sponsored by South Dakota State University, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the South Dakota Arborist Association, will have presentations from researchers and practitioners who are working with this insect in adjacent states. The registration for the one-day symposium is $40 and includes lunch. For more information on the workshop and to register, visit the event registration website.