Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an exotic insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the Midwest, was first reported in North America in June of 2002, when it was identified as the agent causing tree mortality in the Ontario and Detroit areas. The beetle probably arrived in solid wood packing material that came from Asia. Infestations were discovered in Illinois in June of 2006; and in Champaign County in September of 2010. As of January of 2012, EAB has been found in fifteen states and two Canadian provinces.
On June 15, 2012 the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed an EAB infestation along Market Street, just south of Interstate 74. The Illinois Department of Agriculture continues to designate Champaign County as a quarantine zone. This means that the movement of all “regulated articles” (ash trees and all non-coniferous firewood) outside of the quarantine zoned is prohibited. For a fuller definition of “regulated articles,” a map of quarantined counties, as well as up-to-date information on this pest, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture Emerald Ash Borer infosite.
Since the spread of this insect has occurred primarily through firewood from infested trees, we are asking homeowners to use caution when purchasing firewood. Do not purchase firewood that has come from infested areas, or move firewood from other states! Since it is difficult to identify firewood sources, limit your purchases to locally obtained firewood.
Please note that there is a native ash borer, as well as many emerald ash borer look-alikes. Check the emerald ash borer information page at www.emeraldashborer.info for positive identification, and also to determine if the tree you are examining is an ash tree.
If you think you have found an emerald ash borer, please call the local University of Illinois Extension office at 333-7672, or call the City of Champaign Forestry Section at 403-4770 and we will forward the information to the Extension office.
Emerald Ash Borer Action Plan
The following are steps taken by the City of Champaign in order to reduce the EAB population.
- All species of ash trees are prohibited for planting on Champaign parkways.
- The Forestry Section will continue to prune healthy ash trees through routine section pruning, but will not accept requests to prune ash trees outside of the current section pruning area (with the exceptions of hazardous trees). This strategy will avoid using resources to prune trees that will need to be removed in the near future. In these cases the adjacent homeowner can hire a certified arborist to prune the tree, or, upon request, the City can remove the ash tree and replace with a new tree if there is adequate spacing (a minimum of 50 feet between parkway trees).
- If declining or structurally poor ash trees are found, they will be removed, and, if spacing allows, replaced with an alternate species.
- There are insecticide options for protecting trees from EAB; however, these require application on an annual or biennial basis for the life of the tree. Because of the cost of the treatment and the high number of City owned trees, the City will not apply insecticides to protect ash on City rights-of-way. Adjacent homeowners may apply insecticides to trees on rights-of-way; however, the cost in these instances would be borne by the homeowner.
- The Lead Arborist continues to meet with representatives from local communities and the University of Illinois to coordinate consistent strategies for responding to EAB.
- The Forestry Section continues to examine ash trees for the presence of EAB on a routine basis and responds to citizen calls for information and potential sightings of EAB.
- The City has signed a State of Illinois Emerald Ash Borer Compliance Agreement, and private tree contractors doing work for the City are also required to sign the agreement. Compliance to the agreement will ensure that regulated materials (trees, logs, firewood, and wood chips greater than one inch in diameter) are not moved outside the quarantined area.
- All logs from ash trees removed by the City between May 1 and September 1 will be held at Public Works, or taken to the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana for processing. Processing will consist of using a tub grinder to convert large logs into chips.
- The City has designated Capital Improvement Funds for ash tree removal. These funds will be used for the contractual removal of large ash trees.