Vermont, along with the rest of the country, will recognize National Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, May 22-28.

The week is designed to draw attention to the impact that this invasive species, a native of Asia, can have on ash trees. In Vermont, the emerald ash borer was first spotted in 2018 in Orange County and is now confirmed in all but Essex County.

The beetle attacks all three species of ash that grow in the state.

Although it can’t be eradicated, increased awareness of this destructive wood-boring beetle can help slow its spread. To that end, University of Vermont Extension is collaborating with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to get the word out.

Vermonters are encouraged to get involved by organizing a community activity or posting on social media.

An online emerald ash borer toolkit is available at go.uvm.edu/eab-toolkit to provide ideas and information. It contains posters, videos and other tools; resources for educators; information on ash tree identification and guidelines for hosting a neighborhood ash tree walk or tree tagging event.

The Vermont Invasives website (vtinvasives.org) has a number of resources, including videos and maps indicating infested areas, to help homeowners, municipalities and forest landowners and managers identify, understand and control the spread of the pest. If you think you have spotted an infested ash tree, you report it and submit a photo.

Public events planned for the week include:

May 24, 6-8 p.m. U-32 Middle and High School, East Montpelier. Join the East Montpelier Resilient Roads committee and Joanne Garton, Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program technical assistance coordinator, for a walk and presentation to learn about East Montpelier’s proactive approach to emerald ash borer management.

May 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nulhegan Basin Visitor Center, 5396 VT Route 105, Brunswick. Join Abenaki craftspeople and basket makers to learn about the significance of black ash trees in Abenaki culture and their use in basket making. Come help pound ash trunks and learn how ash splints are made into baskets. Volunteer pounders are needed. Lunch is a potluck, so bring a dish to share.  

Here are some tips to slow the spread:

• Don’t transport firewood. The pest is primarily spread by hitching a ride on firewood. Buy firewood where you burn it.

• Be a pest detector. Be alert and report signs of infestation. The emerald ash borer has feasted on over 100 million ash trees in the Midwest, where it was first discovered in 2002. Most infested trees die within three to five years.

• Learn to identify ash trees and emerald ash borer signs and symptoms by visiting vtinvasives.org where you can find numerous photos and videos, especially important as Vermont enters May and June, “the fly season” of this invasive pest.

To list an event in your community, contact Ginger Nickerson, UVM Extension forest pest education coordinator, at ginger.nickerson@uvm.edu.

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