EAB penny

The emerald ash borer may be a tiny insect, but it is doing massive damage to ash trees.

Two additional Tennessee counties have been quarantined for emerald ash borer after the beetle was detected earlier this month.

Hickman and Dickson Counties join 63 other counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine, including Williamson County. The quarantine prohibits the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber and other material that can spread EAB. The tree-killing beetle was recently intercepted through the United States Department of Agriculture’s EAB detection program.

“Firewood is especially troublesome to spreading EAB,” State Forester David Arnold said in a press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “We ask that people don’t move firewood since EAB larvae can survive hidden in the bark. Outdoor enthusiasts hauling firewood unknowingly give the pest a free ride to establish new infestations at their destination.”

Signs of the beetle include a thin canopy or yellow foliage, small holes through the bark of the tree, or shoots growing from roots or a tree's trunk.

The EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002, when it was detected in Michigan. It arrived in Tennessee in 2010 after it was spotted at a truck stop in Knoxville, and has been in Williamson County since 2015.

J.T. Cunningham, owner of Grassland Horticulture, has been an advocate in the fight against the EAB. His company stays busy treating ash trees that have been infected throughout the area.

“We’ve been treating them hard and fast ever since [their arrival in Williamson County],” Cunningham told the Home Page last spring. “It’s such an important issue, it’s basically where we’ve concentrated most of our efforts.

“It’s the biggest environmental disaster to ever hit Tennessee.”

Citizens are asked to report any symptomatic ash trees to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) and follow these guidelines:

TDA’s Division of Forestry estimates that 5 million urban ash trees in Tennessee worth a total of $2 billion are potentially at risk from EAB. There are an estimated 261 million ash trees on Tennessee timberland, with an estimated value of $9 billion. 

For more information about EAB and other destructive forest pests in Tennessee, visit www.protecttnforests.org. Follow @ProtectTNForests on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on the harmful impacts insects and diseases have on the state’s trees, where pests are found, and what landowners can do to help protect their trees.

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