On May 18th, several Tree Keeper volunteers were pruning trees at Staley High in North Kansas City. The school was opened 8 years ago and has a beautiful campus with many young trees. While pruning for low limbs, dead limbs and other structural issues, the volunteers noticed that many of the trees were ash. This included about 75% of the trees planted in the student parking lot. Looking at the canopy on a wide scale there were at least 2 trees standing dead, a few stumps of trees that had died and then 10 or so trees that had a thin canopy.
Wendy Sangster with Missouri Department of Conservation and Program Manager Sarah Crowder began looking at the bark of the standing dead trees. It did not take long to find several of the “D” shaped holes that are indicative of an Emerald Ash Borer population. As Wendy inspected the bark there were also many bark splits where the bark was pulling away from the trunk of the tree. Peeling back the bark, “S” shaped galleries were found as well as the head of this adult beetle emerging from the tree. Now is the time to find adult beetles emerging and/or flying. Keep your eyes out for a small iridescent green bullet-shaped beetle as they will be feeding over the next month.
If you have an ash tree on your property, hire a certified arborist to assess your tree. Emerald Ash Borer is metro wide and will kill all untreated ash trees within 5-7 years of infestation. It is estimated that the metro has 6.5 million ash! The loss of benefits provided by these trees will be catastrophic so it is vital to not only plant new trees now but to plant a wide diversity of tree species for the future.