Ash borer infestation forces removal of 400 trees

Emerald ash borer
The emerald ash borer is responsible for millions of dollars of damage to ash trees in Michigan, and it's spreading to other states. The adult borer is a metallic, coppery-green color and one-third to one-half inch long.
David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Forestry crews are removing hundreds of ash trees from the Fort Snelling Golf Club this week because of emerald ash borer infestation.

Workers found evidence of the insect in about 100 trees at the golf course last summer. It's likely others are also infested, said Minneapolis Park board forestry director Ralph Sievert. They will remove about 400 trees total.

"Once you've got that many that close to each other, you can have trees infested but the symptoms just aren't there yet," Sievert said. "Since we were going to remove the obvious ones, we just thought with doing all the operation out there, we might as well just get it all over with."

About half the ash trees are on the landscaped area of the golf course, Sievert said. The others are in wooded areas near the fairways.

Most of the trees will be chipped and burned at the Koda Energy plant in Shakopee. About 30 will be salvaged for lumber.

Because the emerald ash borer lives just under the bark and the trees are being cut down while the beetle is still dormant, there's no concern about spreading the beetle to an area it hasn't been in yet, Sievert said.

''If you are planning to remove an ash tree or pruning an ash tree, this is the time of year to do it because the beetle is not active, as opposed to doing it in the summertime when you could unknowingly move the beetle around. That's one of the things you don't want to do," Sievert said.

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