Emerald ash borer continues to threaten Delaware trees

DOVER, Del. — Emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive insect from Asia that attacks and kills ash trees, has been confirmed in Newark, Delaware. Originally found in northern Delaware in 2016, recent infestations were confirmed in both Middletown and Seaford in November 2018.

Current guidelines recommend the removal or treatment of ash trees if located within 15 miles of a known infestation. Since Delaware is geographically small and EAB can go undetected for years, residents are urged to educate themselves now and take action.

Delaware Department of Agriculture recommends that property owners within a 5 to 15 mile radius of a positive EAB detection treat the trees they want to keep. Tree removal is strongly suggested so homeowners can protect their property and help limit the spread of this insect. For the latest information from the Delaware Department of Agriculture, residents can go to de.gov/ashtrees for an EAB Fact Sheet and an Ash Treatment Decision Guide.

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has been confirmed in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces. The USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service estimates that the insect has killed millions of ash trees, caused agencies to implement extensive federal quarantines, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to municipalities, homeowners, nursery operators and forest product industries. For a comprehensive history and overview of EAB, read the Emerald Ash Borer Story Map.

The Emerald ash borer has had a devastating effect on ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in both rural and urban areas in the United States. A hardwood tree, ash has traditionally been used for making baseball bats. Its high heat value also makes it ideal for firewood. Due to the danger of spreading invasive pests like EAB, USDA developed the “Hungry Pests” campaign urging people to curtail human-assisted spread and to help reduce the risks to the state’s forests and landscapes.

Ash is identifiable by its compound leaf with 5 to 9 leaflets arranged opposite each other. Ash trees are also one of the trees (along with maple, dogwood, and horse-chestnut) that feature an opposite branching pattern. Symptoms of an EAB infestation can be difficult to notice at first, but usually include: canopy dieback, epicormic sprouting, bark splits, woodpecker damage, and D-shaped exit holes on the bark. Adult beetles feed on ash leaves but actually cause little damage. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, typically killing the tree within a few years.

The Delaware Forest Service estimates that ash comprises two percent of the total tree species in the state; however, some communities near urban areas have a higher percentage of ash and could be more adversely impacted.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov


Emerald ash borer found at new Delaware sites

Emerald ash borer education slideshow

 

Map of recent emerald ash borer detections in Delaware
This map shows confirmed EAB detections in Delaware as of 2018. Guidelines recommend property owners consider removal or treatment if ash trees are within 15 miles of a known infestation.

DOVER, Del. — Emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive insect from Asia that attacks and kills ash trees, has been confirmed at two new sites in Delaware: one near Middletown, New Castle County, and another near Seaford, Sussex County. Originally found in northern Delaware in 2016, the new detections create added urgency for homeowners and municipalities to determine if they have ash trees on their property and decide on possible management options. Current guidelines recommend the removal or treatment of ash trees if located within 15 miles of a known infestation. Because Delaware is geographically small and EAB can go undetected for years, residents are urged to educate themselves now and take action.

“These new detections broaden the areas that we are interested in, but it doesn’t really change our scope of work. Since the first detection in 2016, we have been recommending that property owners within a 5 to 15 mile radius of a positive detection treat trees that they want to keep, or to remove trees if necessary to protect their property and to help limit the spread of the emerald ash borer” said Stephen Hauss, DDA Plant Industries Environmental Scientist II. “USDA’s proposal to end the quarantine regulations does not mean that we stop caring about EAB. We still have not found EAB in Kent County, so we will continue surveying and taking tips from the public.”

For the latest information from Delaware’s Department of Agriculture, residents can go to de.gov/ashtrees for an EAB Fact Sheet and an Ash Treatment Decision Guide.

“Now is the time to be thinking about removing and replacing ash trees, something we’ve been recommending for some time. We’ve been anticipating EAB for many years, but these latest detections show EAB’s spread throughout our state,” said Kesha Braunskill, Delaware urban and community forestry program director. “If a particular tree or trees are highly valued by the property owner, chemical treatment may be an option, otherwise removal and replacing ash with a suitable species is our recommendation.”

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has now been confirmed in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces. The USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) estimates that the insect has killed millions of ash trees, caused agencies to implement extensive federal quarantines, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to municipalities, homeowners, nursery operators and forest product industries. For a comprehensive history and overview of EAB, read the Emerald Ash Borer Story Map.

The failure to stop EAB through regulatory controls prompted APHIS to propose removing its domestic multi-state quarantine for emerald ash borer on September 19, 2018, with public comments accepted through November 19. In its Fact Sheet on the proposal, the agency said it plans to allocate resources currently used for quarantine enforcement for “biological control agents for emerald ash borer, which would serve as the primary tool to mitigate and control the pest.”

By all accounts, EAB has been a devastating insect responsible for the widespread decline of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in both rural and urban areas in the United States. Ash is a hardwood tree traditionally used for making baseball bats and its high heat value also makes it ideal for firewood. Because of the danger of humans inadvertently spreading EAB,  the “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign was developed to urge people to not move firewood, “buy it local,” and if they “bring it, burn it.”

Ash is identifiable by its compound leaf with 5 to 9 leaflets arranged opposite each other. Ash trees are also one of the trees (along with maple, dogwood, and horse-chestnut) that feature an opposite branching pattern. Symptoms of an EAB infestation can be difficult to notice at first, but usually include: canopy dieback, epicormic sprouting, bark splits, woodpecker damage, and D-shaped exit holes on the bark. Adult beetles feed on ash leaves but actually cause little damage. However, EAB larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients and killing the tree in just a few years.

The Delaware Forest Service estimates that ash makes up only about two percent of the total tree species in the state, however some communities near urban areas have a higher percentage of ash and could be more adversely impacted.

 

Delaware forest health specialist Bill Seybold inspects an ash tree in Wilmington.
Delaware Forest Service forest health specialist Bill Seybold is shown inspecting an ash tree for emerald ash borer in northern Wilmington. Street trees in some communities have a high percentage of ash and could be more adversely impacted by EAB.

 

 


8th Annual Delaware Arborist & Tree Care Seminar on October 10 and 11 at State Fairgrounds in Harrington

Geoff Kempter of Asplundh co-authored a book on Utility Arboriculture and will speak at the 8th Delaware Arborist Seminar on Oct. 10 and 11.

HARRINGTON, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program will hold its 8th Annual Delaware Arborist and Tree Care Seminar on Wednesday, October 10, and Thursday, October 11, 2018 at the Delaware State Fair Exhibit Hall, 18500 S. DuPont Highway, Harrington.

The event offers a wide range of topics for tree care workers as well as anyone who wants to ensure the health of their community trees. The event brings together a diverse blend of industry insiders, policymakers, tree care experts, and academic researchers who will incorporate classroom lectures, outdoor demonstrations and vendor exhibits to provide the latest updates on tree health issues and practical hands-on training. Attendees are eligible to earn continuing credits from the International Society of ArboricultureMaryland Licensed Tree Expert, and Delaware pesticide certification. 

The cost is $95 for two days with breakfast, lunch and snacks included each day. All major credit cards accepted. Attendees can sign up by clicking the “Online Registration” icon at http://delawaretrees.com or registering at EventBrite link.

The 2018 seminar will focus on the latest issues and strategies in tree pest and disease management, soil health, chainsaw safety, proper pesticide use, utility line pruning, sustainable planting techniques, and updates on forest health threats from emerald ash borer and the newest invasive pest: spotted lanternfly. Featured speakers include Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC, Neil Hendrickson, Ph.D. of Bartlett Tree Research Lab, Bob Dolan of Rainbow Tree Care, Kenneth Glass of STIHL, Jake Ricker of Baker’s Power and Turf, and Trent Dicks of Arborjet.

Trent Dicks of Arborjet, an expert on diagnosing and treating tree disease and pest issues, will be at the Delaware Arborist Seminar on October 10 and 11.

If you need more information or are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Kesha Braunskill or Michael Martini with the Delaware Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry Program at 302-659-6704.
 
Platinum Sponsor:
Garden State Bobcat

Gold Sponsors:
Baker’s Power and Turf
Rainbow Treecare
STIHL
TCIA

Silver Sponsors:
American Arborist
Arborjet
Iron Source
Vermeer

Exhibitors:
DDA Plant Industries
Delaware Invasive Species Council
Delaware Urban & Community Forestry Council

2018 Arborist & Tree Care Program Agenda (Link to PDF)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Day One
7:30 a.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. Welcome
8:15 a.m.

 

“Greening of Arboriculture – Pesticides: where we’ve been, where we are going.”
Neil Hendrickson, Ph.D. – Bartlett Tree Research Lab
9:15 a.m.

 

“Proper Tool for the Job”
Kenneth Glass – Stihl
10:45 a.m. Break – Networking and Exhibitors
11:00 a.m.

 

“Getting a Little Closer to Sustainability: Right plant in the right place the right way.”
Neil Hendrickson, Ph.D. – Bartlett Tree Research Lab
Noon Lunch – Networking and Exhibitors
1:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
 

 

“As Above, So Below: How much of a tree expert can you be without an awareness of soil health?” Joe Murray – Tree Literacy LLC
LOCATION: Outdoors (2 hours)
“Pruning Around Utility Lines”
Geoff Kempter – Asplundh
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall
“Building Effective Relationships with Customers”
Beth Offenbacker – Tree Care Industry of America
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall Boardroom
2:00 p.m. “Tree Diseases and Treatment”
Trent Dicks – ArborJet
3:00 p.m. Break – Networking and Exhibitors
3:15 p.m. “Urban and Community Forestry Update”
Michael Martini – Delaware Forest Service
3:45 p.m. Closing – Attendees must complete a full day to earn continuing education credits
Thursday, October 11, 2018 – Day Two
7:30 a.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. Welcome
8:15 a.m.

 

“How Can You Tell if a Tree is Sick — And What Would That Even Mean?”
Jerry Bond – Urban Forestry Analytics
9:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
 

 

“Tree Care Industry Safety”
Fred Eysaldt – Delaware Department of Labor
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall
“Delaware Emerald Ash Borer Update”
Stephen Hauss – Delaware Department of Agriculture
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall Boardroom
10:15 a.m. Break – Networking and Exhibitors
10:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
 

 

“Low Cost Tree Inventories: The good, the bad, and the freakin’ ugly.”
Jerry Bond – Urban Forestry Analytics
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall
“It’s Not Easy Being Green”
Kenneth Darsney – Nemours Estate
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall Boardroom
11:30 a.m. Lunch – Networking and Exhibitors
12:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
 

 

“Chainsaw Safety”
Jake Ricker – Baker’s Power and Turf
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall
“Roots Before Trunks and Branches”
Herbert W. White – City of Wilmington
LOCATION: Exhibit Hall Boardroom
1:30 p.m. “Spotted Lanternfly Management”
Bob Dolan – Rainbow Treecare
2:30 p.m. Closing – Attendees must complete a full day to earn continuing education credits


“Flying colors”: Delaware passes annual aerial forest health “check-up”

Bill Seybold, Delaware Forest Service forest health specialist, performs an aerial survey of the state’s forest canopy in late-June for early detection of potential threats such as insect pests and diseases. This year’s survey revealed no major concerns.

DOVER – In late-June, Delaware’s forests get an annual “physical” or “check-up” – just after spring’s “leaf-out” blankets the state in a wave of green color. Just as people should visit the doctor to be screened for potential diseases, trees are examined with a variety of tools to hopefully spot minor issues before they turn into major ones.

Armed with a digital camera, GPS technology, and a tablet equipped with specialized software and satellite data, forest health specialist Bill Seybold boards a small plane for a sky-high view of the First State. The annual aerial survey is specifically designed to detect potential threats that can only be seen from the air.

For a total of 10 hours over three days in late-June, he carefully scans the forest canopy below him for areas of defoliation or discoloration: maybe oaks succumbing to a gypsy moth outbreak, or brown evergreens that could signal a potential southern pine beetle (SPB) infestation. A GPS tool linked to the tablet lets Seybold compare previous year’s maps to what he’s seeing now, as well as mark suspicious areas for further inspection and ground sampling.

Fortunately, early results from the 2018 aerial forest survey indicate no major outbreaks of tree diseases or insect pests. “No news is good news” could be an apt expression for forest health issues: a 20-acre stand previously affected by SPB along the Delaware Bay has not grown in size.   A three-acre outbreak of gypsy moth in Glasgow Park in New Castle County also seems to be contained. However, the aerial survey is just one tool the Delaware Forest Service uses to stay alert to what seems like an endless list of potential threats.

The agency currently monitors traps for walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis), a vector for thousand cankers disease in black walnuts that was previously detected in Maryland. Forestry staff are also on the lookout for emerald ash borer  (Agrilus planipennis) or EAB, a tree-killing insect that has destroyed millions of ashes across the United States, which was found in Delaware at a single purple panel trap in New Castle County in 2016. First discovered in the U.S. Michigan in 2002, EAB has now spread to 33 states. In addition to standard lure traps, staff also use a ground-nesting wasp (Cerceris fumipennis) found in baseball infields as a bio-surveillance tool to look for EAB nearby.

Asian long-horned beetle

Other diseases include bacterial leaf scorch, an infection that primarily affects red oak species, and Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) or ALB, which primarily affects maple species, followed by elm and willow. Red maple is the most numerous tree in Delaware, so ALB could cause widespread damage if it was found in the First State. Newer threats are also emerging such as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) or SLF, a tree pest found in Pennsylvania in 2014 that has been detected in nearby states, including Delaware in 2017. SLF poses a major threat to agricultural crops such as grapes, peaches, apples, and timber.

With the help of information and online resources, the public can play an important part in helping forest health professionals like Seybold do their work more effectively. For instance, people can learn how to identify spotted lanternfly at http://de.gov/hitchhikerbug and then use links on the site to report a possible sighting. By tracking and monitoring pests early, state officials might be able to mobilize a more rapid response.

The aerial survey is a key part of early detection, one tactic in a multi-pronged management strategy designed to keep forest threats – both native and non-native – at bay. For example, loblolly pine is one of the First State’s most commercially important trees, dominating the sandy Coastal Plain topography of Southern Delaware. Pine is most at risk for southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis), a native insect pest known as “one of the most destructive pests of southern pine forests.”

In a sign of potential shifts in long-term climate patterns, other Northeastern states have also gone on the alert against SPB. Rarely seen north of Delaware, SPB gained a foothold in the New Jersey Pinelands in 2010. And for the first time, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the presence of SPB in Long Island this year. Fortunately, Delaware has been vigilant in looking for early signs of an SPB outbreak and then cutting out the affected trees in a suitable perimeter to hold off movement to adjacent pines – an approach that has paid off so far.

This aerial view of Delaware’s forests shows a previous infestation by southern pine beetle in the Great Marsh Preserve near Lewes.

Though SPB populations originally build up in stressed, overly dense, or damaged pine stands, once the population is at outbreak levels, it will move right through healthy pines. In the past several years, small areas of trees affected by SPB were found near Assawoman Bay and north of Lewes, possibly due to reduced tree vigor from salt water intrusion. Early detection and removal of infested trees can stop SPB populations from building up and moving through pine stands.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Disturbance Monitor helps spotlight potential changes to forest canopy using satellite data.

The annual aerial survey is also linked with other tools such as the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Disturbance Monitor (FDM), a sort of “smoke alarm” for potential forest health issues. It compares satellite data from several years and averages seasonal variation in green-up and forest loss to alert specialists such as Seybold to possible issues. Sometimes the “disturbance” might be due to commercial or residential land development, timber harvesting, or some other cause. The FDM is reviewed once every two weeks throughout the growing season, however, the aerial survey is usually done once per year in late-June, and is the only way to visually confirm the health of the state’s forest canopy.


Delaware Department of Agriculture asks Delawareans to keep an eye out for hungry pests

Photos of Delaware Department of Agriculture’s surveillance of Emerald Ash Borer can be found on Flickr.

DOVER — Are you helping invasive pests spread in Delaware or around our country? You may have heard that invasive plant pests and diseases are primarily introduced through commercial trade—that’s true. But once they are here, these destructive plant pests don’t move far on their own; they are mostly spread by us. Through our everyday actions—when we take firewood from home to our campsite, mail a gift of homegrown fruits or plants, or order plants, seeds or fruit online from uncertified or uninspected sources—we can contribute to the unintentional spread of any number of destructive plant pests. So when people wonder if their individual actions really matter—the answer is yes.

On a daily basis, our staff is on the lookout for damaging pests like imported fire ants, the Asian Longhorned Beetle, and Ramorum blight. In 2015, imported fire ants were detected during a routine check during an inspection of tropical nursery stock. Fortunately, they were eradicated and no longer pose a threat. We need your help to keep it that way. That’s why it is important for everyone to learn more about these destructive plant pests, take responsibility, and help us stop the spread of invasive species.

It only takes one person to move something they shouldn’t. While they are a strong flyer, it is most likely the emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle hitchhiked into Delaware. And now all of our urban, suburban and rural ash trees are at risk of attack by this devastating pest. And, the risks from EAB stretch well beyond New Castle County and Delaware borders, today EAB infestations are in 30 States.

Invasive plant pests and diseases are a threat in almost every state. If we allow them to enter and become established, these pests could devastate our neighborhoods and public green spaces, and cause damage to native species of plants, forests, watersheds, lakes, rivers and water delivery systems. As it stands today, damage from invasive plant pests costs our nation about $40 billion annually.

To protect our State, we are asking Delawareans to join us in the battle against invasive plant pest and diseases. If you suspect an invasive pest or disease, contact our Plant Industries section at (302) 698-4500. Get acquainted with the hungry pests that would like to dine in Delaware by visiting www.hungrypests.com. This April—Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month—we urge you to help stop the spread of these harmful pests.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov