Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Expanded to Entire Western Shore - Southern Maryland Headline News

Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Expanded to Entire Western Shore

New Quarantine Expands Restrictions on Ash Wood and Hardwood Firewood

ANNAPOLIS (July 14, 2011)—The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in two new counties (Allegany and Anne Arundel). Based on detections this year, MDA has placed all Maryland counties west of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay under a quarantine to prohibit the movement of ash trees and wood out of the quarantined area, as well as movement of all hardwood firewood, effective immediately.

“We believe placing a quarantine on Maryland counties west of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay is the best way to secure Maryland’s Eastern Shore where EAB has not been found to date and protect our riparian forest buffer plantings,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners, to control the spread of EAB through biocontrol and surveillance activities. However, we rely upon cooperation from the community to follow the quarantine restrictions, not move firewood and to report signs of possible infestation.”

EAB was first detected in Prince George’s County after infested ash nursery stock was illegally shipped into the state in 2003. It was detected through survey in Charles County in 2008. In 2011 it was confirmed in Allegany, Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

“The existence of the EAB in central and western Maryland was not entirely unexpected, given the high prevalence of ash trees in Maryland and our proximity to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Northern Virginia where EAB quarantines are in effect,” said MDA Plant Protection and Weed Management Program Manager, Carol Holko. “We are continuing to monitor the situation, and working closely with the USDA and University of Maryland Extension (UME) to minimize the impacts of the emerald ash borer and the quarantine on homeowners, businesses, and communities.”

The EAB is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on and kills ash trees within three years after infestation. Ash trees are one of the most common and important landscaping trees used in Maryland and are common in western Maryland forests. Ash wood is used for all traditional applications of hardwood from flooring and cabinets to baseball bats.

Presence of the emerald ash borer typically goes undetected until trees show symptoms of being infested – usually the upper third of a tree will thin and then die back. This is usually followed by a large number of shoots or branches arising below the dead portions of the trunk. Other symptoms of infestation include: small D-shaped exit holes in the bark where adults have emerged, vertical splits in the bark, and distinct serpentine-shaped tunnels beneath the bark in the cambium, where larvae effectively stop food and water movement in the tree, starving it to death.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Northern Virginia are infested with EAB and have quarantines in effect. New Jersey and Delaware are conducting surveillance activities and have no EAB detections to date. Green ash is among the top five trees planted and one of the most frequently successful in riparian forest buffers. Ash is planted in more than 2,400 acres of riparian forest buffer plantings on the Eastern Shore and supports about 150 types of butterflies and moths.

Ash is the most common tree in Baltimore City with approximately 293,000 trees and accounts for about six million trees in Baltimore and surrounding counties. USDA has estimated that losses could exceed $227.5 million in the Baltimore area alone if the emerald ash borer were to become established.

To help stop this damaging beetle, homeowners and citizens who live in and travel through known infested areas can help:

-- Don’t move firewood – buy it where you burn it. Hauling firewood is the most common way for damaging plant pests to be moved from one area to another. In addition, the state quarantine prohibits anyone from moving hardwood firewood or any other ash tree materials out of the regulated area.

-- Don’t plant ash trees. As the EAB is expanding its range in Maryland, diversified plantings of alternative tree species are recommended for residential landscaping.

-- Report any signs of the emerald ash borer to the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center at 1-800-342-2507.

For information about the emerald ash borer and the quarantine, please visit www.mda.state.md.us/plants-pests/eab/ or call 410-841-5920. Additional information is also available online at: www.stopthebeetle.info.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)

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