Madison's Ash Trees: Branch Sampling for Early EAB Detection Testing began this week

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 8:56am

To assist in early emerald ash borer detection, Madison Parks Forestry Section is proactively employing the ‘Branch Sampling' test. Forestry personnel will collect ash branches from various street trees, peeling away the bark and searching for EAB larve.

EAB is one of America's most destructive tree pests. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree's nutrients. EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 18 states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Although EAB hasn't been detected in the City of Madison or in Dane County, it was discovered nearby in the City of Janesville.

Madison's urban forest along city streets and parks is a vital part of a healthy city.

"We need to pro-active with the spread of EAB. Ash trees comprise 25% of Madison's street trees. With early detection we will be able to make better decisions as to what strategies Madison should use," said Marla Eddy, City Forester..

The Forestry staff will sample five city ash trees in designated plots that are spaced at 6/10th mile intervals throughout the city limits. The bark will be removed from the harvested branches to search for EAB larva. The City will alert homes whose trees will be sampled and notify them if their trees have EAB larva.

Branch sampling is a new approach to EAB detection. 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. Forestry Staff used the branch sampling test last year for the first time. No EAB infestation was discovered at that time.

In December 2012, Madison Parks launched a newly designed and updated Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) website

The City of Madison Forestry Section has updated its Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) website. There are two new features on the website:

• Residents can enter their street address to find out if there is an ash street tree planted in front of their home or within the neighborhood
• Residents can email the Forestry Section directly to report a suspected EAB sighting. If you don't know what to look for the website has information about the pest and images for you to help you identify the Emerald Ash Borer.

"The newly updated EAB website will help our Madison residents keep updated on this very important issue," stated Madison Parks Superintendent Kevin Briski.

The EAB website is designed for residents to find out more about EAB, what you can do, and frequent updates on the situation in Dane County and Madison. For more information, contact City of Madison Forestry at 608-266-4816.


  • Laura Whitmore266-5949
  • Dean Kahl266-4816