Emerald Ash Borer Is Coming to Kirkwood!


By: Beth von Behren on January 14, 2013 Print This Post

The Emerald Ash Borer is Coming to Kirkwood!

And boy is he a pest.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. The emerald ash borer (EAB) will never be your best friend. He will always be a pest.  The EAB is an exotic beetle from Asia whose larvae feed on and kill ash trees.  EAB was accidentally introduced into North America sometime prior to 2002 and so far has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.  In 2008, he made his way to Wayne County, in southeast Missouri, and by July 2012, he had been found in two other counties.

There is no known way to fight the beetle or to save a tree once it has been invaded, and he is on his way to Kirkwood.  Most likely, the EAB will destroy every standing ash tree in the City.  We have therefore begun the process to remove all ash trees in the City’s right-of-way.

Here’s why:  Any large-scale die-off of ash trees would overwhelm our forestry crew and force the City to contract out removal and disposal at a time when the rest of the state would also be experiencing the same situation.  Contracted work would be costly.

Here’s our plan:  Armed with this information, the City of Kirkwood will perform a survey of all ash trees within the City’s right-of-way (ROW), beginning in June 2013.

The City’s plan is to systematically begin removing ash trees from the ROW over a six- to eight-year period.  This would add about 50 to 60 trees per year to the normal work load of the City’s street crews.  Distressed ash trees (with 25% of dead wood or more) will be targeted first. This will be followed up by a replanting of a variety of young trees.  Starting the removal project this early will help us to manage the infestation with our current work force.  All replanting will be scrutinized for safety, with consideration for power lines, sidewalks, curbs and underground utilities.

How many are we talking about?  Based on previous research studies, it’s estimated that ash trees comprise about 14 percent of street trees in Missouri’s communities and more than 21 percent of the trees in urban parks (data compiled by Missouri Department of Conservation, 2005).  Unfortunately, all of Missouri’s native ash trees (green, white, blue and pumpkin ash) are susceptible to EAB infestation, meaning any tree, even a very healthy one, could become infected and die.

The gross part:  The larval stage of EAB feeds under the bark of trees, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients. Branches of heavily infested trees will begin to die, usually near the top of the crown and progressing downward. The bark may crack directly over larval galleries. Adult beetles chew characteristic “D”-shaped exit holes as they leave former feeding sites below the bark. Infested trees gradually die over a two- to four-year period.

This is one guest to our City we are not welcoming with open arms.

If you would like additional background on the EAB, please visit the University of Missouri Website at http://extension.missouri.edu/emeraldashborer/about.aspx.



Written by Beth

Beth von Behren is the Public Information Officer for the City of Kirkwood. She manages the City Website (KirkwoodMO.org) and writes/edits both the monthly "Eye on Kirkwood" (published on the last Friday of the month inside the "Webster-Kirkwood Times") and the every-other-weekly e-newsletter "Kirkwood Happenings." To sign up for the e-newsletter, send an email to Info@KirkwoodMO.org.

Website: http://www.kirkwoodmo.org