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 July 2014, EAB has been found in 23 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 from being planted on Champaign rights-of-way.
- The Forestry Section will not prune healthy ash trees through routine section pruning, or fulfill 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. The City of Champaign has chosen to inject insecticides in order to protect 26 ash trees on City rights-of-way. Adjacent homeowners may apply insecticides to trees on rights-of-way; however, a permit is required and the cost in these instances would be borne by the homeowner. You can download the permit form and send it to the Champaign Public Works Department at email@example.com or mail it to 702 Edgebrook Drive Champaign, IL 61820.
- 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.
- Since 2012, 154 ash trees have been removed from City rights-of-way.
Frequently Asked Questions on Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Champaign
What does EAB eat? All ash species and cultivars are potential hosts. EAB larvae feed on the cambium layer directly under the bark and the adult beetles feed on the foliage.
Where is EAB from? This beetle is native to Asia and arrived in the United States sometime before 2002–most likely in wood packing materials.
How did it get to Champaign? Most EAB infestations in the U.S. have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants, or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances (½ to 1 mile).
Should I be concerned about EAB? Yes. There are about 1,900 ash trees in the public right-of-way in Champaign and an estimated 2-3 times more on private properties.
How do I know if I have an ash tree on the right of way adjacent to my property? One source to check tree identification is to view the City trees map.
Questions about ash trees on the Champaign rights-of-way can be directed to the City of Champaign Public Works Department at 217.403.4700.
How to identify an ash tree? Ash trees can be identified by some of the following characteristics:
Photos courtesy of Dr. David Robert’s MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
For more info please visit: http://treedoctor.anr.msu.edu/ash/ashtree_id.html
How do I know if my tree is infested? Look for the following symptoms:
- Thinning or dying branches in the top of the tree
- Water sprouts (suckers) halfway up the trunk
- Feeding notches on the edge of leaflets
- Woodpecker feeding sites/many bark flakes on the lawn
- S-shaped feeding galleries under dead bark
- D-shaped exit holes (⅛” diameter)
Who can help me determine if my private ash tree is infested? Contact local authorities if you suspect EAB in your tree. Questions regarding ash trees on private property can be forwarded to the University of Illinois Extension at 217.333.7672.
Or, contact your local certified arborist or tree care specialist.
I have chopped down my ash tree. Where can I dispose of the wood debris? 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: http://illinoiseab.com.
The following options are available for processing infested ash wood to kill EAB or prevent completion of its life cycle and spread to uninfested trees:
- Chipping – ash wood, brush and stump grindings must be chipped or ground down to a maximum size of no more than 1″ in 2 dimensions (two of the three measurements – length, width and depth – must be 1″ or smaller).
- Debarking – complete removal of all bark plus ½” of wood. Note that the removed bark and wood must be chipped down to a maximum size of 1” by 1” in 2 dimensions.
Locally, the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana can recycle brush and bulk wood. To learn more about drop-off guidelines and prices, visit the Landscape Recycling Center website.
If you have yet to prune or remove your tree, you’re asked to wait until September thru April to do so. That’s when the EAB beetle is dormant.
Are chemical treatments an option? Maybe, for more information please visit the emeraldashborer.info website.
What is the City of Champaign doing about the EAB problem? 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. Champaign currently has 1,889 ash trees on the right-of-way, which is less than 9% of the street tree population. To date, 26 trees have been chemically treated to help protect them from EAB.