Tiny insect threatens countless Colorado trees | VailDaily.com

Tiny insect threatens countless Colorado trees

A strange pest has killed billions of dollars worth of trees in 30 states and two Canadian provinces. Since 2013, with its detection in Boulder, Colorado's trees are now on the hit list. If you have ash trees, then they are at risk from a small insect called the Emerald Ash Borer.

This pest brings another scenario to light such as the pine beetle that came to the Colorado mountains and destroyed millions of pines several years ago. It's a bug that's hard to fight — and in this case, if you own ash trees, then it's not a matter of if the bug arrives in your yard, but when it shows up. Since ash trees are one of the most common trees in our state, we need to pay attention.

The Emerald Ash Borer hopped across several states from the Midwest to get to Colorado — probably hitching a ride in firewood. It was detected in Boulder in 2013 and found in Longmont this past year. It's simply a matter of time until it moves throughout the state.

Are treatments available?

Treatments are available, but before you sign up to have your tree receive them, know the commitment ahead of time and decide what you want to do. Do you want to try saving your tree, or would you rather start over with something else? That's a case-by-case decision.

New app offers guidance

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To help you determine whether you have ash trees and if so, how to recognize signs of the pest, then take advantage of the free EAB and Ash Tree ID app you can download to your phone. It was announced this month by Colorado State Forest Service and Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The app can help you determine if the trees you own are ash trees and lead you through steps to evaluate your trees and decide what your plan of action will be.

Are ash trees still for sale in Colorado?

Reputable nurseries and garden centers no longer sell ash trees. The lesson from this recent pest is that we often can't anticipate when we dig a hole and plant a new tree whether it will be on the hit list for a new strain of insect down the road.

The best plan is to plant a variety of trees. If one is targeted by a future pest, then you still have other nice trees growing in your yard.