2014 Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Branch Sampling Results

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 11:15am

No additional infestation sites found

Madison Parks Forestry Section concluded its third year of ‘Branch Sampling’ test program for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) detection last week. While it was confirmed in November 2013 that Emerald Ash Borer was present in Madison on the north and east sides, NO FURTHER evidence of Emerald Ash Borer was detected in the city at this time.

The Forestry staff sampled a total of 1060 city ash trees branches in designated plots spaced at 6/10th mile intervals throughout the city limits. The bark was removed from the harvested branches to search for EAB larva. 

This is the third year Madison Parks Forestry branch sampling has been used to test for EAB infestation. This detection method provides a more sensitive measure than the visual evaluation and the purple traps. Branch sampling has shown to be 75% effective at finding EAB in low-level infestations. 

In November 2013, EAB was confirmed in the Warner Park area. The City of Madison has been working on its tactical response to EAB since 2008. An Emerald Ash Borer Taskforce, including representatives of Madison Parks, Forestry, Mayor’s office, City Streets Division, and City Fleet Division, was created to coordinate assessment of the EAB threat, plan various response strategies, review the latest research and act to mitigate impacts on the city’s tree canopy, ensure public safety, protect the environment and contain costs.  The EAB Plan was approved by the Common Council in September 2012 and updated in September 2013.
The City of Madison has an estimated 21,700 publicly owned street (terrace) ash trees, and unknown number of ash trees in parks and thousands more on private property.
Since the discovery in 2013, the forestry section has been following the approved implementation plan for public street trees: 

Madison Parks Forestry continued to do branch sampling around the city. Besides the north and east side locations, no further infestations were discovered. 

Forestry staff evaluated which trees on the north and east side affected areas (see attached map)will need to be removed and which trees may be chemically treated later in the spring. Staff put letters on each of the affected household’s doorknobs during the inspection. The tree(s) that will require removal will be marked with a yellow dot on the street side of the trunk.
The tree(s) will be removed due to one or more of the following criteria:

  • Tree is structurally compromised or in poor condition                     
  • Tree is located under high voltage electrical distribution line
  • Tree is a vision hazard or in a poor location
  • Tree trunk measures less than 10” in diameter at 4.5 feet (dbh) from the ground.

In the spring the city will implement a chemical treatment program for trees that are in healthy condition and over 10 inches diameter. The city will use the injection treatments versus soil drench treatments to ensure the protection of ground and surface water quality.

Madison Parks began an “Adopt-a-Park Tree” program for private citizens to help save, at their own expense, a publicly-owned ash tree in a Madison park. For more information on how you can adopt a Park Tree, visit: http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/services/forestry/pests/EAB/AdoptaParkTree.cfm
Going forward, Madison Parks Forestry will replant publicly-owned trees in most locations. If people would like to help support this undertaking, a specific fund has been created with the Madison Parks Foundation. http://madisonparksfoundation.org/support-the-parks/how-to-give/
What can Homeowners do about their own privately-owned trees:

  1. Keep a close watch on ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation: thinning canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the truck, cracked bark and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
  2. Call a Certified Arborist for expert advice.
  3. If you are considering preventative treatment, the city of Madison encourages you to use the injection method rather than the soil drench method in order to protect our lakes and ground water.

As Madison officials continue to work on the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, please visit the Madison Parks Forestry EAB website:  http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/services/forestry/pests/EAB/