ITHACA, N.Y. — Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been found all around Tompkins County and we now have positive confirmation that it has invaded ash trees in the City of Ithaca. Jules Ginenthal of Cornell Botanic Gardens reported a sighting of heavily wood pecker damaged trees near Wood St Park to Jeanne Grace, City of Ithaca Forester. The City has a complete inventory of street trees and therefore all ashes are mapped. Branch samples collected from spot checks of other ash trees with woodpecker damage and crown dieback revealed infestations on King Street and Hook Place. These confirmations provide solid evidence that EAB has been around for at least 3 to 4 years. After initial invasion occurs, it takes a few years until signs of EAB damage become obvious, but it is not too late to act.
The City has already been implementing a program of removing ash trees in a declining state for other reasons, and will treat healthy specimen trees in Stewart Park and other street locations to protect them from infestation this spring. It is important to note that the City and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation do NOT treat trees on private property; this is the responsibility of homeowners.
As a first step, homeowners should determine whether they have ash trees on their property and the condition of these trees. Woodpecker damage in tree tops is easy to spot now, and then as the trees leaf out, evaluate if there is crown canopy dieback. If there is significant crown dieback (more than half of the tree crown canopy is dead), tree removal is the best course of action for safety reasons; treatment would be wasted money. If there is no woodpecker damage or crown dieback, it is worth treating to protect a healthy tree from infestation. Hiring a professional arborist to inject insecticides in June is the best option, however, homeowners can also purchase imidacloprid and apply it as a soil drench at the base of the tree, though this is considered to be a less effective treatment.
For help in identifying ash trees on private property, bring a twig sample to Cooperative Extension at 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca. Additional information on EAB and treatment options is available from CCETC. Stop in, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-272-2292 (ask for the Growline, Jennie Cramer or Monika Roth). Ash trees on streets are already being monitored by the City so reporting is not needed. The City Forester, Jeanne Grace, can also be reached at 607-272-1718. More details can be found on this website: http://www.nyis.info/?action=eab
On May 10 at 6 PM, Cooperative Extension and the City of Ithaca will be holding an information session at the Cooperative Extension Building (615 Willow Ave) where residents can learn more and ask questions related to next steps in addressing this problem. This session is free and open to the public. No reservation required.
Featured image: Emerald ash borer. Photo courtesy of USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.