Public to be briefed on SE Minn. emerald ash borer infestation

Emerald ash borer
The emerald ash borer is a metallic, coppery-green color and one-third to one-half inch long.
David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Residents in far southeastern Minnesota will have a chance to learn about the spread of emerald ash borer at a meeting tonight at the La Crescent City Hall.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials recently confirmed two infested trees in La Crescent.

MDA Entomologist Mark Abrahamson said city and state officials will talk about options to manage the outbreak. He says local officials need to decide soon whether to treat or cut down the infested trees.

"Over time, the increase of the insect is exponential. The increase of the rate of tree mortality is exponential, so you can't afford to lose any time in dealing with it," Abrahamson said.

La Crescent officials are developing an ordinance for managing trees on private property.

Infested trees have also been found in St Paul, Minneapolis and in rural southeastern Houston and Winona Counties. The invasive emerald ash borers have killed millions of trees in 18 states. They are spread by moving infected ash products, like firewood.

"You have to be on top of it. You can't afford to sit back and even let it go for a year because the consequences of that just multiply as you go forward in years," Abrahamson said. "That's been something that's played out again and again other in other cities."

La Crescent officials are developing an ordinance for managing trees on private property.

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