For an area that prides itself on its great stock of mature trees, news that an invasive tree pest has been sighted nearby is certainly cause for concern.
Unfortunately, that appears to be the case in northeast Johnson County, as the city of Fairway sent a notice to residents yesterday alerting them to a KC-area sighting of the Emerald Ash Borer. A green beatle, the Emerald Ash Borer has spread to 14 states since being introduced to the northern midwest in the 1990s. It’s estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million ash trees in the United States.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture confirmed an Emerald Ash Borer sighting in Parkville, Mo., in July.
The Kansas Forestry Service sent out information about identifying the pest and preventing its spread:
Per Kansas’ Emerald Ash Borer response plan, surveying and monitoring work and educational activities will continue. In that regard persons are asked to be alert to ash tree decline. With the drought the task will be challenging as many of the Emerald Ash Borer symptoms mirror drought symptoms. Telltale signs include:
• Delayed leafout in spring (symptom) – have seen this season because of drought stress
• Thinning canopy or crown (symptom)
• Branch dieback from top of tree (symptom)
• S‐shaped galleries (tunneling) under the bark (sign)
• Woodpecker damage (symptom)
• Epicormic shoots/water sprouts (symptom)
• Bark splits (symptom)
• D‐shaped exit holes first spotted in upper branches of tree (sign)
The Kansas Forest Service Forest Action Plan show’s that ash trees are part of the top 10 species by volume in the state. They estimate that there are 56.1 million “D” Shaped exit holegreen and white ash trees in Kansas at risk, most of which are in rural areas.
However, the 1.5 million ash trees that occur in Kansas towns and cities will pose a much greater cost to Kansans in removal, stump grinding and replacement should emerald ash borer enter the state.
Kansas Forest Service and Kansas Department of Agriculture ask residents and travelers to help prevent the spread of EAB by doing the following:
Don’t move firewood. Do not pack firewood and bring it on your camping trip. Use local vendors for firewood needs and do not bring unused wood home with you. Also, do not buy firewood from door‐to‐door salesman or vendors from infested states. Ask where they got their ash wood from.