Experts say it’s a matter of when, not if, the emerald ash borer will march its way across the entire state, killing every ash tree it infests.
Jorden Smith, the eastern Nebraska wildland urban interface forester, based in Hartington, says landowners need to prepare now.
“The workload would be significantly high if nothing was done in five to ten years,” Smith says, “whereas, if you started taking out old, dying ash trees now and start to replant and then in five to ten years when it does show up, your workload is significantly less.”
The bugs often spread not by simply flying to a new location, but by people transporting them accidentally in loads of firewood. Smith expects more reports of infestations in the region in the coming months.
“I wouldn’t be too surprised if we found it in the Sioux City area or the Yankton area in the next couple of years,” Smith says, “just with the amount of traffic that goes through those two cities.”
Smith says individual ash trees can be treated to ward off the insects, but it’s not a cheap procedure.
“I would not recommend treating until EAB is confirmed and found in your area,” he says.
The ash borer is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. It’s confirmed in at least five Nebraska counties: Dodge, Douglas, Cass, Lancaster and Sarpy.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton