How to protect your trees against emerald ash borer

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The City of Indianapolis is working to fight the beetle that’s killed millions of ash trees across the country and damaged thousands here at home.

They’re hosting meetings about emerald ash borer this week. Experts say thousands of ash trees throughout Marion County are already infested with emerald ash borer.

It’s a small beetle that feeds on ash trees, eventually killing them. EAB was first discovered in the U.S. in Michigan, near Detroit, in 2002, likely arriving on wood packing material from Asia.

Officials say the problem with the beetle is that it’s so small, damage to trees is typically internal until the trees become damaged or die. Thus, they say, the more important it is for homeowners to identify if you have ash trees on your property right now, then take steps to combat it.

They say even if your trees appear healthy right now, it will save you time and money in the long run.

There are several treatment options available: homeowners can treat themselves with a permit, or hire a professional.

“We’re at a stage now where most ash trees in Marion County are at risk of being infested with the emerald ash borer. It is a problem; it is a county-wide problem we’re really hoping people will understand and come to the meeting to learn how to protect their trees,” said Benjamin Easley, Indianapolis Department of Public Works spokesperson.

One area that’s been hit hard by the EAB is the neighborhood located at North Pennsylvania Street and East 25th Street. Peggy Larkin lives in the neighborhood.

“We really love our beautiful tree-lined street and want to preserve our trees if possible,” Larkin said.

Experts say protecting trees are about more than preserving its beauty. Bill Kincius, manager of the city’s Urban Forestry department, explained,  “It keeps stormwater out of our sewer, it improves the air, and it generally just makes our community more valuable.”

Larkin added, “As a homeowner, I like the shade because it saves on cooling costs.”

You can see on the DNR’s website just where the infestations are right now across the state. Marion County is under a quarantine, meaning you can’t move firewood out of the county, because that could spread EAB.

The city is hosting a series of meetings this week about emerald ash borer.

The first is Monday, May 11 in the Earth Discovery Center at Eagle Creek Park. That’s located at 5901 Delong Road. The second is Tuesday, May 12 at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. at 1029 Fletcher Avenue. The third is Wednesday, May 13 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds at the Farm Bureau Building located at 1202 E. 38th Street.

For all meetings, an expo begins at 5:30 p.m. and presentations and Q & A are set for 6 p.m.

More information on emerald ash borer in Marion County is located here.

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