March 6, 2021

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Emerald Ash Borer threatens the beauty of Morris

The Morris tree board includes (from left) Tom Holm, Sally Finzel, Kim Gullickson, Sue Granger, Jay Fier, Ann Williams and Jim Dittbenner.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is threatening the beauty of Minnesota cities. In April 2019 EAB was found 50 miles east of Morris in Sauk Centre. The beetle can travel one mile each year on its own. Conceivably, it would take 50 years to make it to Morri from Sauk Centre. However, the beetle has been moving around the state on firewood, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and forestry agencies.  

This year the City has banned outside firewood from Pomme de Terre Park unless it is state-certified.  All the firewood vendors in Morris (Willies, Jerry’s U-Save, Casey’s, etc.) sell only firewood that is certified to be safe.  People are encouraged to buy their firewood from these local vendors.  Efforts are being made to prevent the spread of the disease and also prepare for the loss of trees if it does get to Stevens County.

Emerald ash borer, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. As of October 2018, it is now found in 35 states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund has awarded grants to cities for EAB preparedness. The City of Morris received a $17,000 grant in January 2020. Since then the city has been drawing up plans to prepare for the invasion of the beetle.

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Stevens County Times.

Katie Erdman