Emergency quarantine issued for Boulder County to protect Colorado ash trees

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The Colorado Department of Agriculture has established an emergency quarantine in the Boulder County area related to the recent discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The quarantine is effective immediately.

“The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly destructive pest to ash trees. In other states, it has caused significant economic impact to property owners and the nursery and landscaping industries. The quarantine is vital to limiting further infestation,” said CDA’s Plant Inspection Division Director, Mitch Yergert.

The emergency quarantine prohibits the movement of all untreated plants and plant parts of the genus Fraxinus out of the quarantined area. This includes, but is not limited to:

· Logs and green lumber
· Nursery stock, scion wood, and bud wood
· Chips and mulch, either composted or uncomposted
· Stumps, roots and branches
· Firewood of any non-coniferous (hardwood) species.

The following are designated as Quarantined Areas. A map of the quarantined area can be found at www.eabcolorado.com.

· Boulder County (unincorporated county and all cities and towns within the county)

· The entire town of Erie

· The area extending East from Boulder County with a Southern boundary of and including Highway 7, a Northern boundary of and including Highway 52 and an Eastern boundary of and including Weld County Road 7

· Highway 93 extending South from the Boulder County line to the entrance of Republic Landfill, including the entire landfill property, and including the entire property at 11218 Highway 93 on which the business of the Singing Saw Woodworks is operated

· The 15 acre, fenced, Community Sort Yard located at 8200 Highway 7 in Allenspark on the Boulder/Larimer County line

Quarantined items may be transported within the quarantined area but may not be moved outside its borders without specific authorization from the Commissioner of Agriculture or the United States Department of Agriculture. Any person violating this quarantine is subject to civil penalties up to $1000 per violation. The full text of the quarantine, including additional restrictions, can be found at www.EABcolorado.com.

Residents can dispose of ash plant material at landfills within the designated quarantine area.

EAB in Colorado

A suspect tree was spotted in Boulder County on September 23 by City of Boulder Forestry staff. Insect specimens from the ash tree were collected and sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Systematic Entomology Laboratory where the identity of the insects was confirmed. The confirmation of EAB in Colorado marks the western-most occurrence of this invasive pest in North America. Colorado is the fourth State to detect EAB in 2013.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture will also expand efforts to detect the destructive bug. CDA has been trapping for EAB for five years; additional efforts will now include bark inspections and tree sampling. Officials will also step up education and outreach efforts.

Ash trees are popular in Colorado with an estimated 98,000 in the city of Boulder alone; the Denver Metro area has an estimated 1.45 million ash trees.

EAB General Information

EAB is an invasive insect that is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees in 21 states. It is a small, green metallic beetle first detected in North America in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. The emerald ash borer attacks only ash trees and all ash species – including green, white, black and blue – are at risk. Signs of emerald ash borer infestation include a general decline in the appearance of the tree, thinning of upper branches and twigs, loss of leaves, and serpentine tunnels produced by EAB larvae under the bark. Woodpeckers may often be observed removing the bark of infested trees to access the larvae.

EAB has killed over 50 million ash trees since its initial discovery in Michigan in 2002. In the last ten years the small green metallic colored pest, originally from Asia, has spread from Michigan to 21 states, including Colorado.

It is possible that EAB could infest an ash tree for 3 or 4 years before visible signs of decline of the tree. If an ash tree is experiencing die back or looking unhealthy, residents are encouraged to have it examined by a professional tree company, contact CDA, or their city or county forestry office. Infestation signs include:

· Sparse leaves or branches in the upper part of the tree
· D-shaped exit holes about 1/8 inch wide
· New sprouts on the lower trunk or lower branches
· Vertical splits in the bark
· Winding S-shaped tunnels under the bark
· Increased woodpecker activity

How You Can Help

“The public can play a vital role in preventing the spread of this destructive bug by simply not moving firewood,” said Yergert. “EAB larvae can survive underneath the bark of ash firewood, and when it’s moved from one place to another, the pest can hitchhike to a new location. Furthermore, it’s important to note that trees begin to decline a bit during fall months but there are certain features of a EAB-infested tree that residents can look for.”

If you think you have EAB in your ash trees, or if you have any questions or concerns, or would like additional information, please contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 888-248-5535 or email CAPS.program@state.co.us.