In early June 2014, the City of Champaign’s Public Works Department confirmed multiple infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) within ash trees on the City’s rights-of-way. A total of eleven ash trees were identified with the EAB in June—of which, nine have been removed. The first confirmed infestation of EAB in Champaign occurred in June of 2012. Prior to that, City leadership enacted an EAB management response plan (2006) in anticipation of EAB. Removals of “poor condition or lower-rated” ash trees have been occurring according to the original plan approved and updated by the City; however, the recent infestations have demonstrated EAB is advancing and killing trees previously rated above “poor.”
The City’s plan targets 205 ash trees for removal between now and 2017. Since the EAB response plan was updated in 2013, 105 ash trees have been removed. Of those 105, 11 were identified as infested while all the others were rated as poor in condition. A tree in poor condition appears unhealthy and may have structural defects such as co-dominant stems, severe included bark, or severe mechanical damage, crown dieback, or poor vigor threatening its ability to thrive.These higher-risk trees are being scheduled for priority removal. Champaign currently has just over 1,889 ash trees on the rights-of-way, which is less than 9% of the street tree population. Preventative (insecticidal) treatment for younger ash trees is currently being attempted. To date, 26 young ash trees have been treated by the City.
The City’s arborists will continue to monitor and remove ash trees infected by the EAB and assist with the planting of replacement trees of a varied species for impacted areas. The City continues to reduce the ash tree population by prohibiting the planting of ash trees on rights-of-way and ensuring the public is aware of the EAB infestation.
Questions regarding ash trees on private property can be forwarded to the University of Illinois Extension at (217) 333-7672. Questions or concerns about ash trees on public rights-of-way can be directed to the City of Champaign Public Works Department at (217) 403-4700 or by visiting the City’s website.
EAB is a small, greenish, metallic beetle native to Asia that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the Midwest. In the United States, it was first discovered in the Detroit, Michigan area in 2002 and has since spread to surrounding states and Canadian provinces. EAB larva feed on the inner bark of ash trees, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients, eventually killing the tree. Once infested, small trees may die within one to two years, and large trees can be killed in three to four years. There is currently no cure for affected ash trees.
Champaign County continues to be designated as an EAB quarantine zone. This means the movement of all “regulated articles” (ash trees and non-coniferous firewood) outside of the quarantine zone is prohibited. For a fuller definition of “regulated articles,” please visit www.illinoiseab.com. Additional information on EAB can be found atwww.emeraldashborer.info. Citizens may also find additional information and discussion of the Emerald Ash Borer at the Sept 7, 2013 City Council meeting found on the City’s website http://archive.ci.champaign.il.us/archive/dsweb/View/Collection-27