Goal is to determine how widely the tree pest has spread in Twin Cities
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Following last week’s discovery of the destructive tree pest emerald ash borer in a St. Paul neighborhood, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin an intensive survey to determine the scope of the infestation in the metro area.
Starting May 19, MDA Plant Protection Division staff will examine ash trees on public and private property in the affected St. Paul neighborhood northeast of the intersection of Highway 280 and Interstate 94. The survey will begin close to the initial infestation, and then expand to other potentially affected areas including northeast Minneapolis and the Mississippi River corridor near the University of Minnesota. MDA personnel will be joined by tree experts from partner agencies including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and University of Minnesota Extension Service.
According to MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe, the information collected through the survey will help state and local officials determine the best way to fight the EAB infestation. The survey also will identify infested trees for potential removal, identify the extent of the infestation, and to inform residents about the infestation and the key facts about EAB.
"We know we’ve got a tough battle ahead, and we need to know more about the enemy we’re fighting," Friisoe said. "If the infestation is limited to a small area and a few trees, it may be possible to eradicate the infestation by removing infested trees. However, the strategy would change if we find lots of infested trees over a large area. To know what of the control strategies might work best, we need to know the extent of the infestation."
Meanwhile, MDA’s Arrest the Pest Hotline (651-201-6684) continues to receive a high volume of calls from citizens with questions about EAB and possibly affected trees. MDA is responding to those calls as quickly as possible, but citizens may also direct questions to the following sources for information and assistance:
* Local tree care companies with certified arborists on staff;
* City foresters (in urban areas and larger communities in greater Minnesota); and
* Local University of Minnesota Extension offices around the state (can be located online at http://www.extension.umn.edu/offices).
In addition, the MDA website has a page designed to help visitors figure out whether their troubled tree is an ash tree, and whether the problem may be caused by emerald ash borer. The page can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab.htm.
CONTACT: Michael Schommer, Communications Director, 651-201-6629