Ash Trees and the Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is Coming to an Ash Tree Near You - Ash Tree Removal and EAB

Background

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle from Asia that was discovered in Detroit in 2002 and has since killed tens of millions of Ash trees throughout the  United States and Canada. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) eats the leaves of ash trees and deposits their eggs beneath the bark. When the larvae hatch, the insects destroy the vascular system of the trees, leading to their eventual death. 

The Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Wildwood, and many Ash street trees are now infested.  Therefore, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the mortality of Ash trees over the next few years.  Ultimately, the EAB will attack all Ash species, regardless of their health. It is expected that within 10 years all urban Ash trees will be dead.

Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness

Prior to 2016, Wildwood performed ash street tree inventories and it was found that about 1,500 of our street trees were Ash and thus were susceptible EAB infestation. Unfortunately the distribution of Ash street trees is not uniform throughout the City. Some neighborhoods and streets have a much higher concentration of Ash trees.  As a result, we worked with Davey Resource Group (DRG) to develop a plan in 2019 to respond to the imminent EAB infestation. The plan included proactive removal of Ash trees on city streets, treatment of the highest condition Ash trees to preserve their life, and replanting  

Wildwood Ash Street Tree Inventory

You can view the City’s inventory of Ash street trees here: Wildwood Tree Inventory

To highlight only Ash trees, click on the lower magnifying glass on the left, click on "Species", and under Genus Common they can select "ash". This will highlight ash trees (the inventory is mostly ash).

Removal of Street Trees

Ash street trees that are killed by EAB will quickly become brittle and fall apart, creating potential hazards to public safety. As Ash trees on public streets decline, the Department of Public Works will have the trees removed by private contractors. The removal of Ash street trees will be prioritized and scheduled based on condition, size, and threat. Prior to 2021, about 280 Ash streets trees have been removed proactively. Since that date, due to the level of EAB infestation, we been focused on removing ash trees on a "worst first" basis, and to prioritize removals, we completed a full re-inventory of ash trees during June, 2021. 

As of August 1, 2022, we have removed about 900 trees, however about 285 Ash street trees remain to be removed (plus an additional 300 treated trees).

Reporting of Dead or Dying Street Trees

If residents have Ash (or other) street trees (those on City streets generally between the sidewalk and curb) in front of their home, which are dead or in decline, please report this to the City using our website reporting form at the following link: Dead Tree(s) or Limbs Down

This will allow City staff to efficiently inspect the tree and follow up with the resident regarding our plans for removal, stump grinding, and for replacement (when we do so).

If preferred, residents can call City Hall at 636-458-0440, and we will collect the information directly.

Treatment of Ash Trees

Chemical treatments are available for Ash trees to kill the EAB.  These treatments, which will cost $97.50-$150 per application depending on tree size, typically provide protection from EAB for up to two years, and thus, must be re-applied biennially 

During the spring of 2020, the City obtained bids for treatments of Ash street trees to temporarily fend off EAB damage to trees. .  For 2020, our contractor, Arbor Masters, was able to treat 199 ash trees, which were rated the highest condition based on our survey, for $25,000.  For 2021, another 116 trees were treated, for $12,000. For treatment of ash trees, Arbor Masters is using a product which utilizes the chemical Emamectin Benzoate.  We anticipate re-treating the original 199 trees from 2020 during 2022. 

Safety Date Sheet for Emamectin Benzoate

Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer

Replanting

Street trees that are removed are expected to be replaced in the future depending on Council authorization of funds.  For Spring 2021, we completed a project to replace 63 street trees, located within tree grates, throughout the town center area.  These trees include some ash trees, however, many are not.  For Fall, 2021, we re-planting 150 ash trees, along city streets in residential neighborhoods. Since 2016, the City has planted about 430 street trees.  Additional tree planting projects are planned each fall, depending on funding. 

Grants

Finally, the City will also take advantage of grants when available. For example, the City of Wildwood has been awarded several Missouri Department of Conservation Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grants for the removal of declining Ash trees on City streets in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.  The 2016 TRIM grant included the removal of 56 declining Ash trees and replacement with a diverse mix of trees. This work was completed in Spring 2017. The 2017 TRIM grant, covered the removal and replacement of 50 Ash trees and was completed in Spring 2018. The 2018 TRIM grant was used to remove and replace 92 Ash trees in the Spring of 2019. The 2020 TRIM grant was awarded to plant and replace 83 ash street trees with Missouri native street trees.  

Unfortunately, the scope and impact of the EAB infestation will be significant, and the resultant loss of ash trees will have a visual impact within many of our neighborhoods and streets over the coming years.  For the latest information, please check the City of Wildwood website.  More information about the EAB can be found at the links below:

FAQ’s

EAB Management Guide

Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Emerald Ash Borer Management

Tree Pests: Emerald Ash Borer