Emerald Ash Borer, a destructive beetle that threatens ash trees was confirmed in Broomfield. A resident near 136th Avenue and Main St. contacted a city forester after discovering a suspicious insect that was later confirmed as Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).
“It’s not shocking that Emerald Ash Borer was found in Broomfield County, given its proximity to Boulder County,” said Matthew Johnson, of ArborScape Services, a local tree and landscaping service. “It’s important to consider what ash trees, if you have any in your yard, you wish to preserve and then plan accordingly.” Johnson added he was disappointed that the strict quarantine didn’t prevent the spread but said it appears to have slowed it down it down.
The City and County of Broomfield has treated its 2,900 ash trees located on right-of-ways and in parks, to resist EAB, but private landowners and HOAs will still need to do their part.
No federal quarantine was announced pending identification of actual trees symptomatic of EAB infestation. Forestry officials say identifying the presence of the insect itself is the first step, but they will also have to find evidence of ash trees which have been infested before a quarantine is considered.
“From our experience, it won’t take very long to ID ash trees victimized by EAB. Once you find the beetle, it becomes easier to find infested specimens, usually right in the neighborhood of discovery,” said Johnson.
What this means to Broomfield tree owners goes beyond just ash trees. The Boulder County quarantine banned movement of all hardwood logs and debris, not just ash, out of much of the county. That includes tree services tasked with removing or trimming a tree. This usually has the effect of raising costs for all tree work.
“We wish it wasn’t so narrow, because even if you have a locust or maple, which aren’t EAB targets, it can add significantly to the cost of your work simply because you have to make different arrangements for disposing of all hardwood debris,” Johnson said.
Emerald Ash Borer was first discovered in Colorado in 2013. It started in Boulder and has spread to Lyons and Lafayette. Quarantines are meant to slow, not prevent the spread of EAB and so far that strategy has worked allowing populous counties to the south of Boulder to prepare. “Every year of preparation allows cities to minimize its long-term removal costs that much more, should trees become infected,” Johnson said. “This is important to understand because it becomes extremely dangerous and hazardous to remove a diseased ash and exponentially increases the cost to remove it. So prevention and strategic removal is a must.”
We recommend checking out Entomology Today’s article about inspecting your trees for EAB damage or contacting a local arborist for an evaluation.