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How to fight ash borer on your home turf

June 5, 2012

Foresters in Greenfield and West Allis urge homeowners to take steps now to fight the emerald ash borer.

There are several signs of damage from the emerald ash borer, whose larvae feed on the trees and weaken them. But usually by the time homeowners see them, it's too late, said West Allis forester Michael Rushmer.

First, people need to figure out if they even have ash trees, said Greenfield forester Dennis Fermenich.

They can do that by speaking to an expert at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, (414) 256-4600, who also can advise about treatments and other options, Fermenich said.

To identify ash trees or the presence of ash borers, and how to deal with the issue, people also can go to the state Department of Natural Resources' website atdatcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/index.jsp.

If people find they do have an ash tree, they will then have to decide if they want to inject it or plant a different kind of tree, Fermenich said.

"They need to start saving up for removal," he said. "The experience in the rest of the country shows it will go."

Injections for a tree about a foot across cost range from between $200 and $350 and will last for two or three years, he said.

Balanced against that cost is the savings in air conditioning that a tree at the southwest corner of a house can bring and the higher resale value of homes that trees bring, he said, so there are many factors to consider.

Both communities, among others, will hold a joint workshop for homeowners, probably in late July or early August.

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