Madison's Ash Trees: Early EAB Detection Testing Begins Today

March 14, 2012

To assist in early emerald ash borer detection, Madison Parks Forestry Section will start a new 'Branch Sampling' test today. Forestry personnel will be collecting ash branches from various street trees, peeling away the bark and searching for EAB larva.

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 15 states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Although EAB has been found in Wisconsin, it hasn't been detected in the City of Madison or in Dane County or the immediate surrounding counties.

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

"We need to be pro-active with the search for 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 our City should use," Marla Eddy, City Forester, said.
The Forestry staff will sample five city ash trees in designated plots that are spaced at one 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. Incorporating branch sampling into our work will allow for better overall management of this destructive pest.
The City of Madison established an EAB Task Force in January of 2008. The City's EAB task force provided their recommendations to Mayor and Common Council in November 2011. Their recommendations can be found on the Forestry Section's website.

Contact:
  • Laura Whitmore, 266-5949