EAB “Trap Tree” Removal Begins

EAB “Trap Tree” Removal Begins

The Forestry Division of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation is informing citizens of the city-wide removal of Ash “trap trees” that has begun in Platte County and continue through May 2014.

EAB tree tagThis past summer, as part of the KC Parks Forestry Division’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Management Program, hundreds of Ash trees around the city were deliberately damaged in an attempt to attract the Emerald Ash Borer.  Known as “trap trees”, the 700 trees in Platte, Clay and Jackson Counties were marked with tags explaining that the tree had been purposely stressed and that it would be removed at a later date, examined for signs of EAB beetles or larvae and properly disposed.

Only certain Ash trees within the City right-of-way or located on City property were stressed. Portions in each county were stressed so that the beetle’s spread and population growth can continue to be monitored over the next five years.  Each spring, additional Ash trees that have not been treated will be stressed to create new “trap trees” and then removed in the winter months to be inspected.

However, in Platte County the beetle population has reached such a high level that all the City Ash trees, not being treated and or used as “trap trees”, will be removed.

Since the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in August 2012, the City of Kansas City, Missouri has put in place a simple plan to manage this devastating beetle.  The goal is not to stop the beetle but to slow its spread and manage the Ash tree population to avoid the devastating financial and environmental impacts of losing thousands of Ash trees in a short period of time.  The plan is to preserve a number of Ash trees by treating them every three years against EAB infestation, create “trap trees” by stressing specific Ash trees that were not good candidates for treatment, and most importantly replacing each Ash tree removed with a variety of other tree species.  Ash trees that have been treated have a small metal tag the size of a quarter attached to the tree trunk on the street side.

The main purpose of trap trees is to monitor the spread of EAB and the population density.  As the population builds in an area thousands of Ash trees begin dying at the same time.

Trap trees were created by stripping away portions of the bark around the trunk of the tree.  This sends stress signals out that attract the beetles.  It is believed to be an effective way of determining if the EAB is in the area when population densities are still very low.  A door hanger was placed at each residence where a tree was stressed and a small sign was posted on the street side of the tree trunk to educate citizens on the purpose of the “trap tree”, and warn them not to remove any parts of the tree so as not to potentially be spreading EAB.  Since these trees are not treated they must be removed before the adult beetles emerge in May 2014 and spread the infestation.  Each tree that is removed will be inspected for signs of EAB infestation, properly disposed of, and a replacement tree planted in a suitable location.

Residents of City of Kansas City, Missouri are reminded that if you have Ash tree debris from private property the City has provided disposal sites that will properly dispose of it so as not to spread EAB.