Emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation of ash trees was identified in the Sioux Falls area over a year ago. What’s happening about EAB there now is highlighted, with a note of interest for Yankton.

These days, EAB larvae are consuming less inner bark of Sioux Falls area ash trees as the larvae become less active. Adult EAB flight has ceased for the season, so infested trees in the quarantined area can be cut and hauled to specific disposal sites. Dr. John Ball, Forest Health Specialist for S.D. Department of Agriculture and Extension Forester for S.D. Cooperative Extension comments on EAB in the Sept. 18 “Pest Update” at https://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/forest.../tree-pest-alerts/

He stated that infested trees can be used for biofuel there over the winter because adult EAB flight begins in spring.

Ball cautions people of the region to only buy firewood from known sources within their county and away from the Sioux Falls area that is quarantined. Transported firewood can be a way to spread EAB larvae and pupae to new locations.

He said that city crews and contractors in Sioux Falls are “working to remove boulevard and park ash trees, infested or not, throughout the city to lessen the impact of emerald ash borer. If nothing were done, the insect will be responsible for the loss of about 40,000 public ash trees, most of them dying within a tree to four-year window. This is far too many trees for any city to cut and dispose of within a short period.”

What is being done statewide about the spread of EAB was the topic of a recent South Dakota Public TV “South Dakota Focus.” Dr. Ball and others discuss the future of EAB in the state, which can be viewed on this link at Archive SDF 2502: www.sdpb.org/SDFocus  

Yankton Urban Forestry Specialist, Lisa Kortan, said that the city of Yankton is planning ahead for emerald ash borer, though no infestations have been found in the Yankton area yet.

“If anyone has ash trees in their right-of-way that they want removed, we would put them on the tree removal list for this winter. Then they can take advantage of the Tree Reimbursement Program in spring,” Kortan said. The form for tree right-of-way reimbursement incentive, tree options, Yankton’s EAB plan of action and background on EAB in South Dakota may be found at the City of Yankton website choosing these links: “Parks & Recreation,” “Parks, Urban Forestry and Outdoor Facilities,” “Urban Forestry,” to the “Boulevard Tree Planting Permit and Reimbursement Form.” The tree reimbursement form is also available at the Summit Activity Center front desk.

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