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Focus turns to treating ash trees struck by emerald ash borer

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 4:24 PM CDT
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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - After years of trying to prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, the push is on to educate people how to save the trees. And that starts with being able to identify the tree -- and treat it.

There are hundreds of ash trees on the Fox Valley Technical College campus. Some are thriving, others have become victim of the emerald ash borer and are dead. It’s a similar situation all across Wisconsin.

According to FVTC horticulture instructor, Chuck Stangel, “Last year it was not that noticeable on campus nor was it in a lot of places. This year it’s just exploded. I drive around the state and I see thousands and thousands and thousands of ash trees dead everywhere I look.”

Unfortunately, steps taken to prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer were unsuccessful and there is an infestation statewide. While nothing can be done for a dead tree, healthy trees and even ones that are already infected can be saved or have their life prolonged if treated right.

According to Chuck Stangel, there are two treatments for ash trees. The first is to flood the roots with medicine mixed with water, something every homeowner can do themselves. The other is a trunk injection that needs to be completed by a licensed arborist.

“You have to treat healthy trees and you have to treat sick trees and you have to remove dead trees. Dead is dead, it won’t come back, but a tree that is sort of in the middle can in a lot of cases we can save,” adds Stangel.

Saving the ash trees is important because there is actually an overpopulation of the trees in the state. But, losing too many at one time would be costly. Stangel says, “The cost to remove and replace trees is really expensive relative or compared to the cost of simply treating them. So, it’s much smarter to get into a treatment plan on a regular basis and selectively remove.”

Stangel hopes people will familiarize themselves with ash trees and recognize how and when they need to be treated.

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