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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Emerald ash borer detected in city

Emerald ash borer detected in city

National and state experts have confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) – an invasive, highly destructive tree pest – in the City of Westminster. This detection represents the second confirmation of EAB in Colorado outside of a federal quarantine, with both detections occurring in the last month.

It is unknown whether EAB arrived in the city by natural spread or via accidental human transport, such as in firewood or other raw ash material. After the recent confirmation of this pest in Broomfield, city forestry staff conducted further investigation and discovered the pest in ash trees near 128th Avenue and Zuni Street.

The city’s Forestry staff recommends residents consult with tree care companies employing arborists certified through the International Society of Arboriculture. Certified arborists will help determine whether ash trees are healthy enough to preserve and recommend treatment options.

There are an estimated 69,000 privately-owned ash trees in the city, and about one in seven city trees being an ash tree. EAB attacks and kills both stressed and healthy ash trees and is so aggressive that trees typically die within two to four years after becoming infested.

If ash tree owners haven’t done so already, they should consider having their ash trees treated. It is less expensive to treat trees than to remove and replace them.

The city has about 1,700 city-maintained ash trees and about 1,200 of those trees are healthy enough to qualify for preservation treatments. The goal is to treat one third of the trees on a three-year rotating basis. The city’s Forestry staff treated 205 trees in 2017 and is currently contracting 500 preventative ash treatments. Another 200 less valuable ash already have been removed and replaced.

The city will continue implementing other aspects of its EAB management plan, including EAB monitoring and detection, public outreach and wood utilization.  

EAB is a non-native, wood-boring beetle that is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada. This insect was first discovered in Michigan in 2002, and since then it has spread to at least 35 states, including Colorado.

For questions, contact City Forester John Kasza at jkasza@cityofwestminster.us  or 303-658-2559 or Assistant City Forester Bryan McCoy at 303-658-2287 or bmccoy@cityofwestminster.us.

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