Emerald ash borer discovered on campus; ash tree removal, treatment plan continues

Emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that kills ash trees, has been discovered in a dying tree on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus, the city of Eau Claire announced Dec. 4. It is the first confirmed emerald ash borer discovery in Eau Claire County.

The infested tree is one of 75 ash trees on the UW-Eau Claire campus, said Troy Terhark, UW-Eau Claire’s director of facilities.

“In anticipation of the arrival of the emerald ash borer in Eau Claire, we’ve been on an ash tree removal and treatment plan at UW-Eau Claire since 2014, removing five or 10 ash trees a year and replacing them with tree varieties that are resistant to invasive parasites like the emerald ash borer, although the replacement trees are not always in the same locations as the removed trees,” Terhark said.

As part of the ash tree removal and treatment plan, UW-Eau Claire grounds staff also are treating 12 mature ash trees located east of the university’s Haas Fine Arts Center in an attempt to save them.

Going forward, UW-Eau Claire is on a three-year plan to remove and replace the remaining untreated ash trees on university property. Twenty-five ash trees on upper campus will be removed in January and replaced with more disease-resistant trees later in 2018, and that process will be repeated in 2019. The remaining untreated ash trees will then be removed and replaced on the same schedule in 2020. The trees to be removed this January are near Horan Hall and on the site of a new residence hall to be constructed beginning in February.

UW-Eau Claire facilities staff are exploring possibilities for donating the removed ash trees to companies that make reclaimed wood products.

For more information about UW-Eau Claire’s ash tree removal and treatment plan, contact Troy Terhark, director of facilities, at terharta@uwec.edu or 715-836-4218.