The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) has confirmed that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is present in Alexandria, and this insect pest is contributing to the decline of many ash trees throughout the City. The most visible sign of EAB infestation on ash trees is dead or dying canopy of the tree, with numerous dead branches extending upward from the main trunk. Once the EAB invades the tree, it may take 2-5 years for the tree to die.
Over the past several years, more and more ash trees have been showing the effects of gradually warming regional temperatures and the increasing presence of EAB. During the past year, RPCA removed approximately 50 dead or diseased ash trees from public lands in Alexandria. The EAB has ravaged many stands of ash in urban areas of 20 states, including Virginia and Maryland.
In summer of 2016, RPCA confirmed the presence of EAB in Alexandria by deploying insect traps for the species in wooded areas and capturing multiple insects – confirming the EAB. While it is not practical to treat all the ash trees throughout the City, RPCA has initiated a pro-active pilot program to treat several dozen healthy mature ash trees on public lands with an insecticide to protect them from the EAB. The City wants to maintain a population of healthy ash trees that can serve to propagate new trees when and if the current threats subside. The City also encourages residents to monitor ash trees on their own properties. Residents can engage a qualified arborist to recommend appropriate treatments for ash trees that are still healthy on their property.
In an effort to control the spread of the EAB, the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has implemented Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) safeguards prohibiting the transport of ash trees, ash wood, and ash wood products within and outside of infested areas. Campers should not transport firewood to campgrounds in order to avoid introducing the insect and other pests into areas that are not infested.
For additional information or questions about the Emerald Ash Borer, visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension website, or the Emerald Ash Borer website, or contact the City Arborist Office at 703.746.5499 or 703.746.5496.