The infestation in Dakota County including Eagan, Mendota Heights, and Inver Grove Heights is in full-swing for the Emerald Ash Borer. The City of Eagan and surrounding neighbors are planning full-scale removal projects that are expected to take 7 to 10 years to complete.
Signs of the Emerald Ash Borer
Usually the most obvious way to identfiy Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) damage is to inspect your tree for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers will pick away at bark on the tree to eat insects and larvae and most trees in the area are showing these signs already.
The City of Eagan has released special wasps in Blackhawk Park in the June of 2019 to help slow down the spread in the park and help manage trees that they cannot easily remove. There is some hope that they will move on to nearby neighborhoods, however most trees already have damage and will need to be removed.
It is important to note that you should not transport any wood from Ash tree removal on your property outside of the county or state as it is possible to easily spread the insects or their larvae and create new infestations.
What to do?
If you have Ash trees on your property with or without signs, you will almost certainly have to remove them. Trees planted in the boulevards will be handled by the cities and their contractors, but the rest will be your responsibility.
After you have decided to remove infected or soon to be infected Ash trees on your property, most often you will want to replace them with a similar decidious tree. There are many great choices, but if you are planting multiple trees, please consider plant selection diversification so when we are faced with the next insect or disease crisis, the impact will be less dramatic.
Choose a hardy variety that is pest-resistant and will survive in our Zone 4 climate. Visit a local nursery and ask them for their advice, many local growers have had trees in their fields for 10 to 20 years or more and can tell you what has survived, thrived, or failed.
The extension office at the University of Minnesota also has a lot of information on hardy trees that are recommended for your area.