As EAB Advances Burnsville, MN Prepares
More of Minnesota’s 900 million ash trees are now facing attack from the deadly Emerald Ash Borer. Newly identified infestations in nearby Eagan and Bloomington reveal that the insect is closer to Burnsville, where efforts are underway to treat healthy public ash trees and remove unhealthy ones. “It’s coming at us from two sides now,” said Terry Schultz, the city’s parks, recreation and natural resources director. City inventories and tree surveys reveal Burnsville’s total ash tree population, public and private, is estimated at 40,885, making up 19 percent of its 220,120 trees.
The EAB Plan
The City Council wrote its first EAB-containment plan in 2010. In 2013, the city revised its plan to dedicate $3.5 million to help protect many existing ash trees on public property, remove others that become infested and plant new trees. The new plan emphasizes treatment rather than removal. “There is, as far as I’ve seen, no way of stopping it. It’s 100 percent mortality for trees that aren’t treated. Treatment appears to have a good track record in healthy trees and has come down in cost.” said Schultz.
Treating City Ash Trees
Burnsville has approximately 3,000 ash trees in its boulevards, 930 in parks and 14,300 in public woodlands. The dedicated funds will allow the city to treat 2,865 selected ash trees in parks and boulevards prior to the arrival of EAB. Plans call for completing the treatments in 2016 with follow-up treatments every two years.
Removal & Replanting
The budget will cover the removal of 1,100 poor condition ash trees on public property. Half of which will be replaced with new trees. The targeted trees are in medians and on public right-of-way and in active-use areas of city parks. Remaining trees will be left untreated and removed if necessary for safety.
Saving Private Ash Trees
The more than 22,000 ash trees found on private property are not be part of the city’s treatment or removal plan. The city recommends that residents watch their ash trees for signs of infestation and contact the city forester or a certified arborist if signs of EAB are detected. The city has offered property owners who wish to treat private trees the same treatment cost it gets through its contractor. “For now, we’re encouraging folks that want to save their ash trees that are in good condition to go ahead and treat them at their own cost. An ash tree that hasn’t lost more than 25 or 30 percent of its leaf canopy is probably healthy enough to be saved.” said Schultz.