City of Red Wing

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

eabonpennyEmerald ash borer (EAB) – A lethal disease spread by the tiny emerald ash borer beetle which quickly kills all the ash trees within an infected region.  While it has not come to the Red Wing area yet it will likely make its way here within the next decade through natural migration – unless it is transported into the community before then through the careless movement of firewood.  When an infected tree is found in the designated control area the City condemns the tree and requires immediate removal. (Ordinance Section 10.20.02, Subd 1


How soon will EAB get to Red Wing?

EAB first appeared in Minnesota, in St. Paul in 2009 and rapidly spread throughout the Twin Cities.  In the Spring of 2014 the emerald ash borer was discovered in Winona.   Emerald ash borer beetles can fly, but their natural migration is slow; without help from human movements the MNDNR estimates that EAB could spread to Goodhue County within the decade.

Native to Asia and Eastern Russia, the emerald ash borer was accidently shipped to the United States in wooden pallets made of untreated ash wood from Asia.  Since its original detection in Michigan in 2002, the beetle has spread across much of the Eastern United States and Canada – primarily through the careless and unintentional transportation of firewood and other wood products.  In fact, the 2009 outbreak in St. Paul can be traced to a single home owner who professed to brining firewood back from a camping trip in an infected area in Wisconsin – over 100 miles away.  Similarly, the  2014 outbreak in Winona can be traced to particular neighborhoods where it appears the beetle was spread through human movement as opposed to natural migration.


Will it kill all the ash trees?

It might.  All species of ash (Fraxinus sp.) are susceptible to EAB and none have any natural resistance.  There are over 2,000 ash trees in City rights-of-way and some 200+ in developed parks.  Ash represents 25% of the total tree population in some areas of the city.  In addition, ash is one of the most common tree covers in the bottomlands along the Cannon and Mississippi rivers, on the bluffs and in agricultural areas.


Delay the spread of EAB into Red Wing

NEVER MOVE FIREWOOD! Always burn firewood where you buy or harvest it.Burn it Where You Buy it

The MNDNR has placed a quarantine on the counties of Ramsey, Hennepin, Houston, and Winona to help slow the spread of EAB to other areas of Minnesota. It is against the law to move the following items out of EAB-quarantined counties:

  • Firewood from ANY hardwood trees
  • Entire ash trees
  • Ash limbs or branches
  • Ash logs or untreated ash lumber with bark attached
  • Uncomposted ash chips and uncomposted ash bark greater than 1 inch in two dimensions.


What is the City doing to prepare for EAB?

The City has a plan in place.  It details the City’s authority to act, identifies risks and resources, and makes recommendations that will allow the City to manage EAB proactively and strategically.  Among the strategies for public trees:

EAB Trap

  • The City no longer plants new ash trees on public property
  • A tree inspector monitors ash trees in the business district and in residential neighborhoods
  • The City cooperates with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to establish trap trees and set purple traps in the city
  • The Public Works Department began removing ash trees, starting with those in poor to fair condition or with major defects, at a rate of up 5% per year
  • Ash trees that are removed are replaced in accordance with the Urban Forest Asset Management Plan and public works operating procedures.


Can I treat an ash tree to prevent EAB?

There are insecticides on the market that you can use to treat your ash tree and prevent EAB.  Based on the advice of the MNDNR, the City recommends that you hold off on treating your tree until EAB is confirmed within 15 miles of Red Wing.  Professional arborists have more treatment choices than homeowners have, including some that last for two years.  Trees in the early stages of EAB infestation can be treated as well.


What can property owners do about EAB on private property?

  • Monitor ash trees for EAB - look for cracks in the bark, excessive woodpecker damage and watch for dying branches near the top of ash trees
  • Report suspected cases of EAB to the tree inspector immediately! There is no charge associated with calling the city to have a tree inspector look at an ash tree suspected of having an EAB infestation.
  • Establish a relationship with a tree service company that has a Certified Arborist and a Minnesota Certified tree Inspector on staff, and carries adequate general liability and worker compensation insurance
  • Remove ash trees now, and replant other species in advance of EAB infestation.


What if I want to treat the tree on my boulevard with an insecticide?

You can, but contact the city Tree Inspector first. If you have a qualified tree service or person treat an infested boulevard tree with insecticide at your own expense and in accordance with University of Minnesota Extension suggestions, it may remain in the landscape for as long as the tree remains healthy.  However, you must provide evidence, such as an invoice or copy of the product label, to the Tree Inspector.


What should I do with my ash tree that must be cut down?

To help prevent the spread of EAB, avoid cutting down an unhealthy ash tree May-August unless the wood will be chipped at the site.  Until EAB is found in Red Wing, there are no restrictions on the movement of ash wood in the community.  You can take wood to the compost site on Bench Street during open hours.  Ash trees make good firewood and it’s safe to cut and store uncovered if it came from a healthy tree.  If the tree was sick, plan to cover and seal the pile while it seasons to prevent the spread of emerald ash borer (EAB).


What trees should I plant instead of ash?

Many kinds of trees grow well in Red Wing including varieties of maple, linden, hackberry, honeylocust and others.  To learn about trees recommended for southeast Minnesota, visit


Dead Ash GroveMore information about EAB & references:

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

University of Minnesota Research Extension