Emerald ash borer discovered in Rock County

Invasive beetle kills ash trees
Emerald ash borer discovered in Rock County

The emerald ash borer has been detected in Rock County.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said on Friday that residents living in Janesville found the invasive beetles in an ash tree.

The emerald ash borer has also been confirmed on state land for the first time, including in the Richard Bong State Recreation Area near Burlington. Visitors aren’t allowed to remove firewood from any area affected by the emerald ash borer.

“The old message about moving firewood still stands, and it’s still the best message out there. That’s how this stuff gets moved around and faster than it would on its own, is when we give it a hand and move infested products,” said Mick Skwarok, of the state Department of Agriculture.

The emerald ash borer has also been discovered in other Wisconsin counties, including Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Vernon and Washington.

Anyone living in an affected area should call an arborist to determine if their trees are at risk and ask them what to do about it.

The emerald ash border is responsible for the death of tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States.  

Leaders with the city of Janesville are scheduled to meet with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday to figure out a plan of action to save the estimated 30,000 ash trees in city parks and in residents’ back yards.

Experienced gardener Robin Anderson said her 5-year-old son, Artie, who is an avid tree climber, detected the beetle.

“We watched a video on the Department of Agriculture’s website, and he came out here and said, ‘Mom, there’s a D-shaped hole in the tree,'” Anderson said.

Her neighbor, John Andrews, planted his only ash tree himself, and he’s pulling out all the stops to protect it.

“The first case of emerald ash borer in the county is 30 feet from my house. I’m just trying to save my tree,” Andrews said.

Emerald ash borer discovered in Rock County

And he’s not alone.

The Nursery Lot at K&W Greenery has been busy advising other area residents. K&W Greenery employees have been recommending Bayer’s Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed.

“You need one ounce of product per inch of tree. So you measure the circumference of the tree and then you put that on in the liquid form, and it does take anywhere from a week to three months to go up into the plant,” said Laura Vos, with K&W Greenery.

Vos said the product will only work if the tree has not been infested. So far, only one of Anderson’s six ash trees has been infested.

She said discovering the invasive species in her yard has cut down her son’s dream of building a tree fort, but she’s hoping to save the rest of her ash trees from the same fate.

“It’s heartbreaking, because the city is beautiful and the trees make it even more beautiful, and now we’re going to loose all of them,” Anderson said.

UW Extension is hosting two information sessions for homeowners at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on July 2 at the Rock County Courthouse. Experts will questions and help people identify ash trees in their yards.

People also can call UW Extension at 608-757-5696 and talk to a master gardener on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.