Emerald Ash Borer Found in Lakewood Cemetery

At least two trees infested.

According to the Star Tribune, emerald ash borer beetles have been found in Southwest Minneapolis' Lakewood Cemetery:

The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that threatens Minnesota's nearly 1 billion ash trees, was first found in the state in St. Paul in May 2009. Since then, thousands of ash trees have been taken down, while others have been treated with insecticides to try to thwart the beetle's advance. The Department of Agriculture has also released predator wasps in the fight to curb tree losses

"I'm not surprised our foresters are the ones who made the discovery," Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board spokesperson Dawn Sommers told Patch.

In a phone interview, Park Board Director of Forrestry Ralph Seivert said that two infected trees were found. 

"This time of year, it's easiest to spot effected trees—the woodpeckers are flecking the bark off in search of the larvae that live under there," he said. "In these two trees, you looked right up in them and there were a couple of woodpeckers having a great time."

Concerned you have an emerald ash borer infestation on your property? Check out the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's website for extensive information on how homeowners can treat their trees.

The next step, Seivert said, would be to survey the area around Lakewood in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, to determine how far the population had spread, and how quickly it was growing on this side of Mississippi River.

"It can be pretty devastating, but you don't know how fast it will hit," he said. 

The study would help the Park Board figure out what to do to slow the growth of the ash borer population, to limit the number of street and park trees that would die off at once.

"We'll get through this. It won't be fun, but we'll get through this," Lakewood Cemetery President Ron Gjerde told Patch. "We knew before this event, we'd have to deal with (the ash borer)."

The cemetery's roughly 720 ash trees represent around 10 to 15 percent of its total, he said. Gjerde added that Lakewood would likely gradually phase ash trees out because the cost of opting for pesticides would be too high.

The loss of 720 trees, though, pales in comparison to damage wrought by a pair of tornadoes that swept through a portion of the cemetery in the early 1980's, which took out "thousands."

"If you look at Lakewood today, you wouldn’t even know it,” Gjerde said.


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