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Parks Department

Municipal Service Center -  4811 N. Saginaw Rd.  Midland, MI 48640  Phone: 989-837-6900  Email: kmurphy@midland-mi.org

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Emerald Ash Borer Disease in Midland

EAB: What It Is

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was first discovered in North America in 2002 in Canton, Michigan. It most likely arrived in shipping containers from Asia.

To put the Emerald Ash Borer's damage into perspective, Dutch Elm Disease killed 200 million elm trees while EAB threatens 7.5 billion ash trees.

Adult bugs (see right) don't actually damage the trees... it's the more incidious larvae that bores its way under the bark's surface, creating permanent damage and preventing the tree from being able to transport water and nutrients throughout the tree. This surrounds and eventually kills the tree.

Symptoms of EAB

There are many ways to tell if a tree is infected with EAB:

  • The crown - or top of - the tree appears bare, while the lower part of the tree still exhibits some leaves. EAB kills the tree from the top down.

  • Green sprouts on the trunk are a classic sign of an ash tree in distress. This is called epicormic sprouting. Since it can no longer transport nutrients, the tree tries to create food all along its trunk. Trees at this stage will not be able to survive.

  • The insect creates a D-shaped exit hole in the bark of the trees.

Status of EAB in City of Midland

First EAB Infestation: EAB-infected trees were first identified on the property of the Midland Armory, off of Airport Road. It is estimated that these trees have been infected since 2007. These trees are located on private property and are not part of the City's plan to eradicate EAB.

City’s EAB Response Plan: Since the discovery of EAB in Midland, the City has stopped planting ash trees and has begun removing some infected trees that are deemed safety hazards. The City is also collaborating with Consumers Energy to remove ash trees located near electrical lines rather than pruning these trees.

In order to gauge the scope of potential infestation, the City hired a tree service to conduct a random sampling of four (4) percent of the street trees lining the city outlawns to determine the number of ash trees. The study only involved City-owned outlawn trees (located between the sidewalk and the curb). The study estimates a total of 28,000 outlawn trees with approximately 20% (or 4,000) of these trees being a type of ash, including Green Ash, White Ash, and Black Ash.

The City has developed a multi-year plan to eliminate or treat affected ash trees. Untreated ash trees will eventually die and require removal. EAB survey crews will be working in neighborhoods identifying ash trees and marking them for either treatment or removal. See the marking symbols at right.

Ash trees marked with a green dot will be treated with a trunk injection of a systemic insecticide to help protect them from EAB. Ash trees that have been marked with a green “X” will be removed based on various criteria:

  • Too much EAB damage to save the tree

  • Wrong tree for location (power lines, sidewalk and driveway damage, etc.)

  • Poor growth condition: not likely to survive even with treatment (dead limbs, cavities, decline, scale, etc.).

Tree removal and trunk injections are being performed by City of Midland crews as well as contractors working for the City. There is no guarantee that because a tree has been treated it will survive indefinitely.

City crews will be re-evaluating trees on an on-going basis. Trees that are removed will be scheduled for stump grinding and outlawn reseeding within approximately 90 days. Replacement trees are planted in the spring and fall. Nursery stock is available in limited quantities, and City staff will determine the best location and species of tree to replant. Not all locations where ash trees have been removed will receive a new tree.

If an ash tree has been removed from your property's outlawn and you are not interested in a replacement tree, or if you wish to plant a replacement tree at your own cost, please contact the City of Midland Parks and Recreation Department at recreation@midland-mi.org or (989) 837-6930.

Ash Trees on Private Property

Property owners are responsible for the treatment or removal of affected ash trees located on their property. For assistance with EAB treatment or ash tree removal, the City recommends that residents contact a certified arborist or licensed tree service.