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Emerald Ash Borer

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What is Emerald Ash Borer?

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is a small, metalic-green beetle that is about 1/2″ in length. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia.

Where has EAB been found?

Emerald ash borer is also established in Windsor, Ontario, was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois and Maryland in 2006, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2007, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia in the summer of 2008, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky in the spring of 2009, Iowa in the spring of 2010, Tennessee in the summer of 2010, Connecticut, Kansas, and Massachusetts in the summer of 2012, New Hampshire in the spring of 2013, North Carolina and Georgia in the summer of 2013, Colorado in the fall of 2013, New Jersey in the spring of 2014, Arkansas in the summer of 2014, Louisiana in the winter of 2015, Texas and Nebraska in the spring of 2016, and Delaware in the summer of 2016, and Oklahoma and Alabama in Fall 2016.

EAB was confirmed in Lincoln when it was located in a trap within the city limits of Lincoln in August 2018. The trap was monitored by USDA as a part of the National EAB survey.

The destructive Emerald Ash Borer has been found in eastern Nebraska (6/8/16 News Release) and in a trap inside the Lincoln city limits (8/22/18 News Release) and finally during a tree removal in central Lincoln (4/23/19 News Release) .

Since its discovery, EAB has:

  • Killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.
  • Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
  • Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries hundreds of millions of dollars.

How many trees does this effect the golf courses, parks, and private trees?

The City of Lincoln completed an inventory of all public trees in July 2017. The inventory data will be used in managing Lincoln’s public trees, identifying areas for additional plantings, managing species diversification and locating the ash trees.

Of almost 112,400 planted public trees (81,785 along streets and 30,575 in parks and golf courses), nearly 14,150 are ash (11,700 along streets and 1,600 in parks and golf courses). This is about 12% of the public trees in Lincoln, and does not include trees on private property. The Nebraska Forest Service estimates that there could be three to four ash trees on private property per one public ash tree in Lincoln, or perhaps another 40,000 to 50,000 ash trees on private property.

Where can I learn more about Emerald Ash Borer?

The Nebraska Forest Service website,, has extensive information regarding Emerald Ash Borer including:

  • Ash tree identification
  • Determining which ash trees are good candidates for treatment
  • Emerald Ash Borer treatment options
  • Suggested tree species to replace ash trees

You may wish to review the list of online publications available under the Forest Health section on the Publications page.

What is the plan?

City of Lincoln EAB Response and Recovery Plan

Download the plan.
In conjunction with the USDA-APHIS and the Nebraska Forest Service Best Management Practices recommendations, the plan includes:
  • A 3-phase process for selective and pre-emptive removal of ash trees that are declining, damaged, diseased or poorly located (i.e. under power lines, threatening public accesses, etc.)
  • Chemically treat a declining quantity of ash each year to allow the managed removal of trees
  • Remove 1,050 ash trees per year
  • Plant 1,050 replacement trees per year utilizing diverse tree species.
    Phased Ash Tree Removal:
  • The criteria for removal in Phase 1 is the diameter at breast height (DBH) is < 14”.
  • The criteria for removal in Phase 2 is: 14-18”
  • The criteria for removal in Phase 3 is >18” DBH, and not responding positively to chemical treatments.

Ash trees on public property that have a trunk diameter of 18-inches or less will be removed by Community Forestry staff. There are nearly 10, 300 smaller diameter ash trees on public property (i.e., trees with a trunk diameter of 18 inches, or less). At this time, it is anticipated that public ash trees with a trunk diameter greater than 18 inches will be removed by contracted private tree service companies. There are about 3,900 larger diameter public ash trees (i.e., trees with a trunk diameter greater than 18 inches).

Adopt-an-Ash program

Adopt an ash

A no-cost permit has been established to allow residents to adopt an ash street tree in the public right-of-way by providing ongoing chemical treatment to minimize damage by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). In order to be effective, trees must be treated every two years on an ongoing basis. The optimal timing of trunk injections occurs after trees have leafed out in the spring but before EAB eggs have hatched, which is generally between mid-May and mid-June.

Download the Adopt-an Ash Permit Application PDF

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