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Tree crew discovers emerald ash borer in Sherburne County

A tree care crew discovered the invasive and destructive pest while working at a site in Elk River.

ELK RIVER, Minn. — State agriculture officials say an emergency quarantine is now in effect after a tree in Elk River was found to be infested with larvae from the emerald ash borer (EAB), the first time the invasive pest has been detected in Sherburne County. 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) says a tree care company contacted the state after suspecting a tree on the Elk River site was infested. MDA and city staff were able to collect samples and confirm the presence of emerald ash borer larvae. 

Sherburne is now the 36th county in the state to be invested with EAB, which was first detected in Minnesota back in 2009. The insect larvae kills ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that transports nutrients up and down the trunk. 

If you have ash trees, there are obvious signs that follow infestation: 

  • Woodpeckers like to feed on EAB larvae. The presence of woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of the pest. 
  • EAB tunneling can cause bark on the tree to split, revealing an S-shaped mark under the bark's surface.

Since this is the first confirmation of EAB in Sherburne County, state officials are enacting an emergency quarantine that limits the transportation of firewood and ash material out of the county to prevent spread of the pest. 

Concerned residents and tree care professionals that work in the county are invited to attend a virtual informational meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 10 to 11 a.m. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

To register, go to the MDA website.

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