Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small beetle that is invasive in Minnesota and many other states. It was discovered in Michigan in 2002, and has since spread to many east coast and midwest states, and continues to spread west. The larvae feed on ash tree inner bark, killing the tree within a few years depending on the tree's size.
In May 2018, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed an EAB infestation in Burnsville. The discovery was made in the area of McAndrews Road and 139th Street, in the central part of Burnsville. A map of infested areas can be found on the MDA’s EAB Status Map (zoom in to see locations). Most of Burnsville is now considered "generally infested" by the MDA.
Property Owners Encouraged to Take Action Now
Property owners are responsible for trees on their property. Left unprotected, ash trees will be killed by EAB.
If you have one or more ash trees, you should consider whether you want to save or remove them. This Decision Guide (PDF) can help you determine the best course of action for your ash tree(s). You can also consult a professional arborist to examine your trees. The University of Minnesota offers advice on "How to Hire a Professional Arborist."
OPTION 1: Removal
If an ash tree is unhealthy or you don’t plan on treating it, then the tree should be removed following Minnesota Department of Agriculture guidelines for EAB-infested areas. These guidelines call for ash tree removal during the EAB Dormant Season (when the beetles are not actively flying), which is October 1 - May 1.
Please do not remove ash trees during the EAB Active Season (May 2 to September 30). In this time period the potential spread of EAB is high, as the tree is disturbed or wood is moved around. If removal is necessary during the Active Season, special precautions should be taken such as chipping the wood on site or enclosing the wood during transport.
If removal of an infested ash tree is delayed, the costs to remove that tree are likely to increase because it’s more dangerous to remove an ash tree heavily infested by EAB. If hiring out for tree removal, residents must hire a City-licensed tree contractor (PDF).
OPTION 2: Pesticide Treatment
If an infestation is caught early in an otherwise healthy ash tree, an appropriate pesticide treatment will kill EAB and save the tree. Residents interested in this method should hire a City-licensed tree contractor (PDF) with a commercial pesticide applicator’s license. Residents are responsible for the full cost of treatments for private ash trees.
The City recommends a trunk injection method for applying pesticide treatments. The standard trunk-injected EAB treatment will protect trees for two years. Learn more about pesticide treatments by reading the MDA’s EAB: Homeowner’s Guide to Selection, Use, and Environmental Protection (PDF).
Discounted Treatment Pricing
Residents may take advantage of City contract pricing to treat ash trees. In 2021, the City’s contractor is Rainbow Treecare. The cost of treatments by Rainbow Treecare for private ash trees in Burnsville is $5.82 per inch of diameter at base height (DBH).To schedule a treatment, call Rainbow Treecare at (952) 767-6920.
DBH is a standard measure taken of the tree trunk at 4 1/2 feet above the ground. Tree companies will measure this for you. However, if you want to measure the DBH yourself, wrap a measuring tape around the tree trunk at 4.5 feet above the ground. Divide that number by 3.14 to calculate DBH.
Help Stop the Spread of EAB
Dakota County is on the MDA’s list of EAB quarantined counties. The quarantine restricts the movement of ash trees, ash limbs and branches, ash stumps and roots, ash logs, ash lumber, ash wood, or ash bark chips from a quarantined county into a non-quarantined county. In addition, hardwood firewood of any kind (ash, oak, etc.) may not be moved from a quarantined county into a non-quarantine county. More details about the quarantine can be found on the Emerald Ash Borer - Minnesota Quarantine webpage.
Firewood presents a very real threat to our urban forest. Insects can hitch a ride on firewood anytime it’s moved. Here are some tips to using firewood so that you don’t accidentally introduce insect pests into new areas:
- Use local or heat-treated firewood -- Look for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture certified logo on firewood. Here’s a list of Certified Firewood Producers in Minnesota.
- Don’t bring it with you -- Buy firewood once you reach your destination.
- Use it up -- When you purchase firewood, use it up and don’t bring it to another area.
Treatment of Public Ash Trees to protect against EAB
The City of Burnsville’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Management Plan dedicates funding over 10 years to treat nearly 2,500 public ash trees in parks and boulevard right-of-ways, remove others that are in poor condition or become infested, and plant new trees.
In 2017, the City treated about 1,200 public ash trees to protect them from EAB and removed about 270 poor quality ash trees. In 2018, about 1,050 good quality trees were treated and about 200 poor quality trees were removed.
Many of the public ash trees being treated grow in boulevards (street right-of-ways). The standard right-of-way for residential properties extends 15 feet into yards from the curb. Ash trees growing within boulevards are considered public trees and, if they are of good quality, will be treated to protect them from EAB.
Residents with boulevard ash trees scheduled for treatment will be notified by postcard before treatment occurs. Ash trees on private property but not within the boulevard right-of-way are the responsibility of the property owner.
The City’s Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan
In 2013, City Council approved the EAB Management Plan, which outlines a multi-step approach to dealing with EAB. The plan calls for:
- Removal of poor quality public ash trees (park and boulevard right-of-way trees) and replacement with non-ash tree species
- Treatment of good quality public ash trees (park and boulevard right-of-way trees)
- Strategies for privately-owned ash trees
- Public outreach and communication
Learn More about EAB
To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer, check out the following:
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture EAB webpage
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Emerald Ash Borer webpage
- Learn the Signs and Symptoms of an Emerald Ash Borer (PDF) infestation.
- Check out EAB Frequently Asked Questions.