Borer concerns have city encouraging against planting ash trees

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — The Brighton Parks and Recreation Department will be notifying developers and homeowner associations that it is not recommending ash trees be planted this time. 

City Forester Kyle Sylvester attended council’s March 25 study session to tell them about the emerald ash borer that was discovered in Boulder last fall. 

The emerald ash borer is an exotic beetle that was discovered in Southeast Michigan in 2002, according to www.emeraldashborer.info. Although the adult beetle nibbles on the leaves of ash trees, its larvae feeds on the inner bark of ash trees and disrupts the trees ability to transport water and nutrients. 

Sylvester said the emerald ash borer has killed 50 to 70 million ash trees since it was first discovered and could be labeled as the most destructive forest pest in the last 200 years. 

“There’s about 7.5 billion ash trees in North America, and it threatens to kill all of them the way this is going, so it is a big deal,” he said. “Ash are probably our most common species that we have throughout North America, its our most common tree we have in Brighton and its probably the most common tree in all the metro area.”

Sylvester said unlike other species of borers the emerald ash borer is indiscriminate and does not care if the tree is healthy, stressed, young or old. The insect is spread when infested firewood is transported to an area uninhabited by it.  

Of the 1,300 trees that he has inventoried thus far in Brighton, about 600 of them are ash trees, and there could be another 2,200 to 3,000 ash trees within the city limits. 

He told council emerald ash borer has not yet been found in Brighton but that it might be here someday and that if so, they will have to do something about.

More information on the emerald ash borer can be found at the Colorado Extension website, www.ext.coloradostate.edu, or by calling the Adams County Extension Office at 303-637-8100.