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Emerald Ash Borer detected in Moorhead; Fargo on alert

Emerald ash borer larvae damage the ash trees they live in.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Emerald ash borer larvae damage the ash trees they live in.

City Forester Scott Liudahl says it was only a matter of time before the pest arrived to the area.

Fargo’s city forester says he has been waiting for this day.

Scott Liudahl says over the past eleven years, the city forestry department has been working on replacing ash trees along Fargo’s boulevards in anticipation the Emerald Ash Borer’s arrival. Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a metallic, coppery green beetle whose larvae destroys ash trees by feeding on layers under the bark that move water and nutrients through the tree. Liudahl says it can take as long as three to seven years to notice an infestation.

EAB was officially detected in a Moorhead neighborhood this week, and Liudahl says the city will be working with both the North Dakota and Minnesota departments of agriculture to determine where any further infestations could be. Liudahl says once the pest is here, it can’t be stopped – but there are things that can slow its spread.

"Don't move firewood, that's number one for moving the pest around, it's the easiest way. Number two is, you know, this is not all gloom and doom - there are a number of insecticides that can be utilized both from a homeowner perspective and from a professional, contractor perspective too. These have been very successfully developed over the last decade where this pest has already been very active to the east of us. So there are things that can be done on a high value ash tree - south side of the house, lots of shade in the summertime - it's something to consider."

Liudahl also says if you do have ash trees on your property, now is a good time to think about replacing them. There are lists of species of trees that thrive in this climate on the City of Fargo’s website. Liudahl says in the past eleven years, the city has reduced its ash tree population along the boulevards from over 40 percent to just under 24 percent – and replacement efforts will continue.