City of Red Wing

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)


Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an insect that is native to Asia, but has made its way to the United States. It was first noted in Michigan in 2002 but has since spread throughout the Midwest.  EAB is devastating to our native ash trees as they lack any natural defenses against the pest.  The Emerald Ash Borer attacks ash trees in two phases.  The adults are small, iridescent green beetles that live outside of the tree and feed on it during the summer months.  The beetle larvae live inside of the tree and feed on the inner bark of the ash trees, impairing the tree's ability to carry food and water, ultimately causing the tree to die.  

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 when it first appeared in St. Paul in 2009 it was 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, when it was discovered in Winona, MN, in 2014 it was traced to particular neighborhoods where it appears the beetle was spread through human movement as opposed to natural migration.

The EAB has arrived in Goodhue County

On March 2, 2017, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of EAB in Red Wing and subsequently placed all of Goodhue County on an emergency quarantine for firewood and ash wood products (read the full press release here)

A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 6 pm in the Foot Room of the Red Wing Public Library to address Emerald Ash Borer and another invasive species in Goodhue County, Oriental Bittersweet.  Representatives from the MN Dept. of Agriculture and the University of MN Extension Office will be presenting.  City of Red Wing Public Works staff will also be present to address the City's response to EAB and its potential impact for Red Wing. 

Don't spread EAB to other counties!

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

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has placed Goodhue County under a quarantine. 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 in response to 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.  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. 

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.

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.  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