Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a destructive insect that harms ash trees. It was discovered in Minnesota for the first time in 2009 and made its way to Coon Rapids by 2017. The pest won’t be going away anytime soon.
So far in 2022, City Forester Tommy Schibilla has already marked more than 300 infected ash trees. And there are likely many, many more.
“Emerald Ash Borer has really ramped up in Coon Rapids the last couple of years,” Schibilla said.
But help is on the way thanks to a recent grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The City was awarded $100,000 to remove boulevard ash trees affected by EAB and replace them with a different species. Schibilla says the goal is to remove and replace 125 boulevard trees with the DNR grant.
“My biggest message to folks is to have a plan for your ash trees,” Schibilla said.
The grant money can only be used for boulevard trees, which are located along the street within the public right of way and maintained by the City. Property owners are responsible for trees on their private property. Schibilla can help you identify if your ash tree is infected and suggest a course of action. For trees smaller than 15 inches in diameter, there are treatment products you can purchase from a garden center and apply annually to prolong the life of the tree. For trees 15 inches or larger in diameter, an arborist can inject the tree with chemicals every other year. The treatments buy time until the tree can be removed.
“Once ash trees die, they become extremely brittle,” Schibilla said. “They’re going to fall down on their own within a year, so it’s really important to get the trees addressed sooner than later.”
For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, go to www.coonrapidsmn.gov/EAB or call City Forester Tommy Schibilla at 763-767-6455.