The City of Murfreesboro Street Department advises residents to be aware of a recently confirmed case this summer in Middle Tennessee of Emerald Ash Borer, a destructive wood-boring pest affecting ash trees.
As part of land management, the City has treated some high value ash trees on City property since 2016 as a preventative measure. However, treatments only prolong the trees’ life since infected Ash trees will eventually require removal due to pest damage.
“The City of Murfreesboro Street Department has been removing ash trees that have been experiencing declining health over the past few years in preparation for a large-scale outbreak of Emerald Ash Borer,” said Assistant Street Department Director Kane Adams.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect native to the Asia region and was unknown in North America until its discovery in southeast Michigan in 2002. Based on the size of the infestation, EAB has likely been in the U.S. since the 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
EAB infestations have been detected in 35 states, including Tennessee. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service works with state and local cooperators to detect, control and prevent the human-assisted spread of the pest in order to safeguard America’s ash trees.
Ash trees that are not treated or removed prior to infestation will become a hazard due to the brittle nature of dead ash trees. Ash trees can be identified by the diamond-shaped pattern in the bark.
The Emerald Ash Borer is small, roughly 1/8th to ½ inch in size, but does significant damage. The adult insect is visible between May and August, feeding on ash leaves for three to six weeks. The larva can spend two years eating and growing, affecting water flow and nutrients.
Borers typically start in the top half of the tree or crown and steadily move to the trunk and lower areas. The crown will start to thin and dead branches will be visible in affected trees. Trees with less than 60 percent of a healthy crown should be removed as soon as possible.
For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, citizens are encouraged to contact the Rutherford County Agriculture Extension Office, located on John R. Rice Blvd., at (615) 898-7710 or visit the USDA’s website for Emerald Ash Borer.