With temperatures forecasted above freezing for the next two weeks and ground temperatures warming, residents may start thinking about planting or replacing trees on their property. With that in mind, the City of Greeley Forestry Program reminds residents about the imminent threat of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle first identified in the United States in 2002. In 2013, it was identified in Boulder and has since been found in three other Colorado communities. The beetle is responsible for a significant decline and death of tree populations across the U.S.
Only ash trees are at risk from the Emerald Ash Borer.
“Prior to Emerald Ash Borer being identified in our state, a lot of Colorado communities planted a significant amount of Ash Trees because it was a hardy tree that grew quickly in our climate,” says City of Greeley Forestry Program Manager Shiloh Hatcher. “About 15% of Greeley’s entire urban tree canopy is ash and if the beetle is found in Greeley, it could cause a significant damage.”
For that reason, Greeley’s Forestry Program planted 768 trees last year, none of which were ash. Dubbed “succession planning,” the program plants new trees near those that are identified as reaching the end of their life or trees threatened by pests like the Emerald Ash Borer.
The Greeley Forestry Program maintains an inventory of publicly owned trees, not those that are on private property. Shiloh says that homeowners may not even realize they have an ash on their property.
According to Hatcher, “It’s not a matter of if the Emerald Ash Borer is identified in Greeley, it’s a matter of when.”
“It’s important to get this message out during the spring because that’s when the beetle starts emerging from trees and is most easily recognized,” says Hatcher. Although it could take up to three years for an ash tree to show decline from a beetle infestation.
Hatcher recommends that if a property owner has an ash tree that appears unhealthy, they should consider having it examined by a professional. “It’s not all doom and gloom,” Hatcher says. Ash trees can be saved with early detection and pro-active care and maintenance.
To help residents identify ash trees, the beetle and the damage it causes, the Forestry Program has set up a website with detailed information and photos. Visit Greeleygov.com/AshBorer to learn more.
Attached Images: Photos were taken by Kim Overholt, forestry’s marketing support person, during an educational tour in Boulder last fall. Please consider using them as “contributed photos” in conjunction with local articles about the Emerald Ash Borer. Additional images available upon request.