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The Emerald Ash Borer Is Here. So What Should You Do With Your Ash Trees?

Mike Groll
An emerald ash borer larvae being removed from a tree, seen here in this photo from 2011.

Earlier this week, two more Vermont counties confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer. The invasive species is known for causing devastation to millions of ash trees around the country.

So, should landowners with ash trees cut down all of their trees as a preventative measure?

“It would be a mistake to cut all one's ash trees," said Michael Snyder, commissioner of Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation. "That said ... I think it's reasonable also to say it's not wise to not cut any of them. So, let's get to the more logical place somewhere in between those two. ”

Snyder continued “not all trees are equally susceptible."

"We have seen in other states that even in heavily infested places, some ash trees survive," Snyder explained. "That suggests a really important possibility for resistance… So it’s important to keep some ash in the mix.”

Michael Snyder spoke to VPR’s Henry Epp. Listen to their conversation above.

“Maybe we can live through the first wave of emerald ash borer infestation, and then have seedlings in the understory that once we pass through the first phase can grow up to be healthy ash trees in a time where we have other control mechanisms,” Snyder said.

If a landowner has infested ash on their property, Is it OK to harvest and burn that wood?

“It is OK to burn and use," Snyder said. "And that may be the best thing to do with infested wood... When you cut the tree down and move it… the larvae are in there, and then you’re giving it a ride to someplace else and spreading it.”

“Burning it on site makes a lot of sense because that reduces the population.”

If you think you have found an emerald ash borer, you can report it here.

Henry worked for Vermont Public as a reporter from 2017 to 2023.
Tabitha was the spring 2018 newsroom intern at VPR.
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