Last month in Maine, the Town of Yarmouth’s Tree Warden and Tree Committee held a preliminary meeting to talk about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the different control methods that are available. The devastating Emerald Ash Borer was found in Concord, NH in late 2013. In response to the looming threat, the town meeting was well-attended and represented a significant number of cities in that area which include Yarmouth, Kennebunkport, Bath, Lewiston, Brunswick, Augusta and South Portland.
Concerns were voiced by all and there was discussion about preparing tree inventories. The City of Bath’s case is particularly interesting as it has 20,000 street trees of which 20% are ash. Similarly, the Town of Yarmouth planted ash trees about 40 years ago to replace the Elms that were lost to Dutch Elm Disease. Many of these trees have been adorned with an EAB awareness ribbon which helps raise awareness of how many Ash trees in town could be affected.
Government officials are setting up regular meetings and being proactive so they can stay a step ahead. The key to successfully saving the ash trees will be found in individual communities developing grassroots communication systems to provide educational materials and other helpful resources for homeowners before it’s too late.
Creating a plan
The Maine Forest Service has provided a sample strategy for setting up an EAB management plan. This outlines the municipality’s objective and the approaches it will use to meet the anticipated impact of Emerald Ash Borer on its urban and community forest resource.
A simple breakdown of the plan begins with an inventory of all publicly owned ash trees, and then a prioritized treatment and removal plan. A monitoring plan will also be implemented to identify possible sources of EAB importation into the community such as campgrounds, nurseries, and firewood dealers and monitor nearby ash trees for infestation.
A wood utilization and disposal strategy will be implemented in quarantined communities. Finally, a tree replacement and canopy maintenance strategy based on the inventory and focused on diversity will be put into place.
The Yarmouth Tree Warden and Tree Committee recommend systemic injections as the method of treatment as this method has been proven effective and is the least expensive option. They have begun their public education campaign so that residents may make an informed decision. This admirable and proactive stance will save an untold numbers of trees and tax dollars.