The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive, wood-boring beetle that targets ash trees, poses a substantial threat to Dallas’ urban forest on both public and private land, as reported in Texas Trees Foundation’s State of the Dallas Urban Forest Report.
EAB kills unprotected ash trees within 2-5 years of infestation, eliminating entire untreated ash tree populations within 10 years.
Texas Trees Foundation’s 2015 State of the Dallas Urban Forest Report found that 13.1 percent of all trees in the city are ash, which accounts for an estimated population of nearly 2 million ash trees across Dallas.
In 2015, the city’s ash population was valued at $890.3 million, based on its structural value and ecosystem benefits.
“We are grateful to the City of Dallas for its efforts to understand, monitor, and strategically respond to the impending Emerald Ash Borer infestation,” said Janette Monear, Texas Trees Foundation CEO/President. “Texas Trees Foundation urges the City to implement a SLAM approach, which recommends treatment of 20 percent of the ash population annually. This strategy will slow the spread of EAB, preserve valuable ash trees, and minimize public costs.”
An assessment of the ash trees’ condition in the Trinity Forest and City of Dallas public property will be necessary for a successful EAB mitigation strategy. The SLAM strategy will utilize this information to reduce pest populations through tree treatments and remove only low-quality trees with replacement plantings.
The treatment is expected to protect 99 percent of the city’s ash trees after 10 years.
“EAB poses a serious threat to Dallas’s urban forest, especially the Great Trinity Forest where most of the Dallas’ ash trees are found,” said Zach Wirtz, Texas Trees Foundation Urban Forestry Manager. “We can mitigate this threat through thoughtful, research-based approaches that have proven more financially and environmentally effective than outright tree removal.”
Cities that delay action or rely on a removals-only approach may be overwhelmed with public risk trees. This strategy will not only save money but will also reduce liabilities.