Landscape architect offers tips for homeowners considering Emerald Ash Borer response

As local municipalities begin to prepare for the likely arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer in northeast Johnson County, many homeowners may be wondering the best way to prepare for the pest themselves.

Local landscape architect Robert Whitman of Gould Evans has prepared a series of maps to help residents visualize where the Emerald Ash Borer threat will be greatest. As a general rule of thumb, horticulturists recommend treating healthy ash trees if they are within fifteen miles of a confirmed EAB detection site — though Whitman says even with that guideline it may be premature to begin treating local ash trees just yet. Based on confirmed detections in Wyandotte and Platte Counties, the 15 mile line extends through the northern two-thirds of Prairie Village, and includes all of the rest of northeast Johnson County:

When homeowners begin seriously considering whether to treat against the EAB, they need to understand that EAB treatments should be reserved only for healthy ash specimens, Whitman said. Because treatment is required several times over the life of the tree – not just a single application – treating unhealthy trees that are likely to die in the coming years anyway is generally not worth the cost.

Here are some takeaways Whitman sent along as well:

  • Not all ash trees are worth spending the money to save.
  • Treatments are for the life of the tree.
  • The 15 mile guideline is very vague. Do not use it as a serious cut and dry line.
  • Plant good trees now that will eventually replace fallen ash. Use this list: https://extra.gouldevans.com/greattreesforkc.pdf
  • Be diverse. Use trees not common in your neighborhood to increase species diversity.

Also check out K-State Extension Horticulturist Dennis Patton’s overview of the Emerald Ash Borer situation here.