Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald ash borer (EAB) was recently found in Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to the City of Cambridge. Experts in the field of arboriculture believe that EAB could arrive in the City of Cambridge any time now, and in fact, it may already be present. EAB is a particular concern because of the speed at which it kills Ash trees, generally within 1-3 years. As a species, standing dead ash present high risk to public safety due to how quickly branches will fail. As of March 3, 2014, there are currently 883 City-maintained ash trees, representing 4.6% of overall City maintained canopy. The Department of Public Works has been following the issue for some time. The good news is that healthy Ash trees can be protected from EAB through proactive treatment.

What is the Emerald ash borer?

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Emerald ash borer can be found in approximately 21 states around the country, including Massachusetts. Since its discovery, the EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees and regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.

How can it be treated?

Ash trees that have been deemed healthy by the City Arborist can be protected through a proactive treatment using TreeAzin. TreeAzin is a product that is derived from seed extracts of the Neem tree and is administered at the trunk of the tree. TreeAzin is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production in the U.S. and the pesticide is not hazardous to humans or animals.

For more information on TreeAzin, please click here.

What is the City of Cambridge doing to protect Ash trees?
Over the past few months, the City Arborist has inspected all of the City's 883 Ash trees to establish which trees are vulnerable to the EAB. In June 2014, the City Arborist will host EAB educational events for the public. The Department of Public works and the City Arborist will be hosting these events to give residents and business owners an opportunity to view the City's Treatment Plan, talk with the City Arborist one-on-one, express any concerns, or to just receive additional information.

In June 2014, the City Arborist will begin tree removal hearings for any Ash trees that he has deemed in poor condition and that is extremely vulnerable to the EAB. These trees need to be removed to ensure that the safety of residents, businesses, pedestrians, motorists and cyclists is not compromised. If Ash trees that have been deemed to be in poor condition by the City Arborist are not removed, there is a greater chance that large branches and/or the tree could fall, causing personal injury or damage to property. All tree hearings concerning the EAB will be published on the homepage of the Department of Public Works.

What You Can Do.........
If you have an ash tree on your property, please consider one of the following:

1.Treat. If you have not yet begun a treatment program, please contact a certified arborist to assess whether your tree is suitable for treatment. Treating in June or July is preferred to minimize damage.

2. Remove. Dead and dying trees become high risk for public safety. Remove and replace untreated Ash trees with a different species. Doing nothing may put you and your property at risk.

You can find a certified arborist at www.massarbor.org

Are there any maps that identify Ash trees in the City of Cambridge?
Please view any of the three maps below (click to enlarge) to view Ash trees in the City of Cambridge.

Proposed Planting Locations       Ash Tree Removals in in Parks and Cambridge Cemetery         Tree Removal Hearings
   Replanting Locations           Removals at Parks & Cemetery            Removal Hearings

Susceptibility Map (2014)

Susceptibility Map 2014
                                       Click Image to Enlarge

Where can I view more information regarding the EAB?
Please see click on the links below to view more general information about the EAB:
Society of Municipal Arborists - General Information
Society of Municipal Arborists - EAB Position Paper
Society of Municipal Arborists - EAB Toolbox

Who can I contact if I have any questions?
The City Arborist, David Lefcourt, can be reached at 617.349.6433 or via email at dlefcourt@cambridgema.gov.


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