saving ash trees

Saving Ash Trees
Tree Trust is leading efforts to save millions of ash trees from emerald ash borer infestation. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there are currently one billion ash trees in Minnesota, giving our state the highest number of ash trees in North America. Twenty to forty percent of Minnesota’s urban tree canopies (and in some communities, up to 60 percent) are composed of ash tree species. Indeed, one in five of mature trees in our urban canopy is an ash tree. Many of you may remember the loss of trees due to Dutch elm disease. The dreaded emerald ash borer (EAB) is proving just as problematic to the health of our tree canopies, so it is imperative we work on saving ash trees.

What are emerald ash borers? 
Emerald ash borers are invasive green beetles that cause damage to ash trees by tunneling under ash tree bark disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, causing the tree to starve and die. This invasive pest can kill a single tree in 2 to 3 years if the tree remains untreated. Distressed trees can be a candidate for treatment if signs of emerald ash are caught early. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infested trees can be saved with injection treatments that provide defense against ash borers.

Anti-Ash Borer Efforts 
One of the local urban canopies hit hard by emerald ash borer is in the City of Roseville. EAB was first found in Roseville in 2013, in the northwestern quadrant of the city, and the infestation has become widespread across Roseville, requiring the city to act more aggressively to manage this pest. As a result, this Twin Cities municipality has taken an innovative approach to saving and replanting their tree canopy. The City of Roseville has contracted with Tree Trust to implement an aggressive emerald ash borer management plan while also facilitating opportunities to provide paid, hands-on training to young people for green industry careers. Tree Trust’s Landscape Services Department is providing tree removal of dead or dying trees and continued treatment for approximately 20% of the ash trees that have been part of the city’s ash preservation program. Tree Trust’s Community Forestry team aims to replant the trees lost to emerald ash borer with a diverse mix of tree species in order to create a more resilient urban tree canopy. Tree Trust’s Career Pathways participants are helping replant and maintain the new trees as they hone their skills for ongoing careers in the green industry. You can view an interactive map of the Roseville EAB management plan here.   

Resistant Trees
Saving each healthy tree that we can and planting a diverse mix of American tree species (resistant trees) able to withstand the impacts of future pests and threats is needed now more than ever to sustain our urban forests. Healthy ash trees can be treated before they become infected trees. Ash tree protection including trunk injection will protect the trees from emerald ash borer beetles.

Planting More Trees
Billions of North American trees are ash. The cost of treatment is nothing compared to the cost of inaction. In addition to our partnership with the City of Roseville, Tree Trust is planting trees in parks and private residences all over the Twin Cities. If you want to join the cause to help Tree Trust sustain Minnesota’s urban forests by saving ash trees and planting new trees, there are many ways to get involved. Donate today or volunteer to help plant trees this fall. If we all work together, we can ensure a greener future for the next generation.