Communities & Governments

MUNICIPAL TREE MANAGEMENT

Communities and governments should have a plan in place for managing ash trees before, during, and after EAB infestation in order to minimize economic impacts. Dead ash trees pose a tremendous public safety threat as dead ash trees shed limbs. Their management can be a substantial financial burden for municipalities but planning ahead can reduce costs and management problems. Start by visiting the Planning and Preparation page of this site.

Completion of a Tree Inventory, either a complete inventory or an ash only inventory, will define the scope of the situation and allow you to explore different management options given various budgetary constraints.

There are basically 3 options for dealing with EAB infested trees:
1. Remove and replace ash trees
2. Treat ash trees with systemic insecticides until they can be removed
3. Treat ash trees with systemic insecticides for the duration of the infestation

To decide which actions to take, you need to consider many variables.

  • The location of the tree. Is it in a high use area, or at the back of an unused field? Is the tree in wires, over a building, or on the street?
  • The size of the tree. Removal and treatment costs change as the size of the tree increases.
  • The condition/health of the tree. Poor condition trees are not good candidates for insecticide treatments.
  • The impact of the tree. Is the ash tree in a very prominent location in your community? How will the community react to the removal of that tree or group of trees?
  • Your in-house ability to enact your management decisions. Do you have a certified pesticide applicator on staff, can your crews do tree removals, or do you need to contract these out?
  • Your long term management goals for your urban forest.
  • Your tree care budget.

The Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation supports the conservation of ash tress through treatment and argues that it can be less expensive than removing and replacing trees when the value of established trees and the risks and removal costs of standing dead trees are considered. To read their January 2011 statement click here.

Looking for replanting guidelines? Refer to this Tree Replacement Guidelines and Options poster.

Purdue University has the online Emerald Ash Borer Cost Estimator which can help with management planning by allowing you to choose different management scenarios and estimate their cost using your actual numbers.

Also check the National Tree Benefits Calculator that can be used to estimate the annual value of individual street trees.

Please also see the Management & Control page of this website.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has prepared the Emerald Ash Borer Management Response Plan for private lands. This document will provide community members and local government officials a good understanding of the current problem, possible future scenarios and ideas for strategies to use both at the local level and in partnership with the State and Federal agencies.