June 21, 2013

Quarantine Expanded to Protect Missouri's Ash Trees from Invasive Borer

Bollinger and Pulaski counties added through routine survey efforts

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has expanded the state's quarantine regulating the movement of many ash wood products. The quarantine, an effort to reduce the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, a one-half inch long emerald green-colored beetle, now includes the counties in which the borer has been previously found as well as two additional counties.

The quarantine expansion comes as a result of borers identified and confirmed by USDA staff during routine survey efforts this month. The borers were found in Bollinger County in southeastern Missouri and Pulaski County in south-central Missouri.

The quarantine limits the movement of certain wood products from these counties most likely to transport the borer. Affected products, which may not be moved without first entering into a compliance agreement through USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, include any part of an ash tree, from logs and green lumber, to compost, bark and chips, as well as ash nursery stock and all hardwood firewood.

Detailed information on movement of ash products under a compliance agreement is available online at eab.missouri.edu. Much of the pests' spread is attributed to humans transporting it under the bark of firewood, logs and tree debris. As such, Missouri's quarantines prohibit both interstate and intrastate movement of those products.

The Missouri departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources work with federal staff from USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as researchers at the University of Missouri, to monitor Missouri's forests and urban areas for the insect. Staff also inspect incoming shipments of nursery stock, which may harbor the borers and other invasive pests.

Those agencies also work together to raise awareness of the impact the Emerald Ash Borer could have on our state's trees, especially in urban and suburban areas where 30 percent or more of the trees may be ash. Missouri's educational "Don't Move Firewood!" message encouraging individuals to buy or gather firewood where they plan to burn it can be found everywhere from trade shows to radio public service announcements to highway billboards as part of a statewide effort to slow the insect's spread.

The Emerald Ash Borer quarantine is one of several Missouri has in place to protect the state's trees from invasive forest pests. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, plant and pest quarantines and the Missouri Department of Agriculture's other programs, visit mda.mo.gov.