Emerald Ash Borer Information
About the Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a beetle native to Asia that was first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It has since been detected in 31 states, including Pennsylvania, and locally in Upper Merion Township. The beetle larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, and killing ash trees within three to five years after infestation.
In addition to spreading by natural means, EAB can be transported to new areas in infested firewood, timber, and nursery stock. It has been responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees in North America.
Signs & Symptoms
New infestations are difficult to detect, as damage to the tree may not be apparent for up to three years. Symptoms of an infestation can include:
- Branch dieback in the upper crown
- Excessive epicormic branching/sprouts on the tree trunk
- Vertical slits or bark flaking caused by woodpeckers
- D-shaped adult beetle exit holes in the bark
Upper Merion Township’s Mitigation Plan
In July 2017, the Upper Merion Township Board of Supervisors approved a multi-step mitigation plan for the Emerald Ash Borer.
Phase 1 – Complete
For two weeks in August, the Schuylkill River West Trail at Heuser Park was closed to the public for the first phase of the plan. The trail was treated with herbicide to reduce or eliminate non-native invasive plants. The intent of the herbicide treatment was to kill off unwanted and invasive plants that would compete with restoration of a future healthy forest.
The next step in the process is a timber harvest and sale of the ash trees that is expected to take place starting in November. Access to the trail will be restricted during the logging process for safety reasons.
Down the Line
Future plans include reforestation of the area as funding allows. The Emerald Ash Borer threat will likely significantly change the landscape of some of our parks and green spaces. We appreciate your patience as we work through this challenge, and encourage you to get involved when we look for volunteers to assist with planting trees in the coming months.
What You Can Do
Examine Your Yard
Identify all ash trees on your property. If you are unsure, or if you believe you found signs of the EAB, contact a certified arborist to look at the trees.
Make A Decision
If the arborist finds ash trees, you will have to choose to treat or remove the tree(s). Your arborist will be able to make a recommendation. Only ash trees that are healthy and are of value to the homeowner should be considered for treatment. Other ash trees should be removed before they become a hazard.
Remember, an untreated ash tree with an EAB infestation has a zero percent chance of surviving. Untreated ash trees will become a hazard and a liability. The infestation is here now – protect your home and family and call an arborist!