While Enjoying Denver’s Fall Color, Take Time To Appreciate Our Ashes

While enjoying Denver’s fall color, take time to appreciate our ashes

  • October 6, 2017

DENVER — As a natural prairie, Denver wasn’t blessed with a host of native trees. That, in the humble estimation of Denver City Forester Rob Davis, is what makes ash trees worth savoring every fall.

“Colorado in general doesn’t have a lot of big shade trees that end up with a nice red or purple fall color,” Davis said. “So for me, fall is the time that I realize just how many ash trees we have in Denver.”

And that’s important for Davis, because he knows what’s coming: the emerald ash borer (EAB). The tiny green invader feasts on ash trees, and it’s now the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history, having caused billions of dollars in damage to ash tree populations in more than 25 states.

EAB was discovered in Boulder in 2013 and in Lafayette earlier this year, meaning it’s just a matter of time before it arrives in Denver and poses an immediate threat to the 1.45 million ash trees in Denver. That’s right, folks: 1 in 6 Denver trees is an ash. And the first step when it comes developing our EAB defense plan as a city is learning how to identify ash trees.

As far as fall color goes, green ashes turn a vibrant yellow. That’s great and all, however it somewhat pales in comparison to the white ash, which can change a whole host of colors from deep purple to a lighter red.

“It’s one of the few trees in Colorado that can accomplish that sort of full range of color,” Davis said. “And this is the one time of year you can use that as a characteristic to identify ash trees.”

If you’re unsure of whether you’re viewing an ash, some other telltale identifiers are as follows:

  • Compound leaves: A simple leaf is defined as a single leaf that has a bud at the base of the leaf stem. Conversely, a compound leaf (the sort you’re looking for) is defined as having more than one leaflet per leaf connecting to a stem that has a bud at its base. Ash tree leaves typically have 5-9 leaflets per leaf.
  • Opposite branching: By opposite branching, we mean the branches protruding from tree limbs have a mate protruding from the exact opposite side of the same limb. Only ash, maple, dogwood and horse chestnut trees have opposite branching.
  • Diamond-pattern bark: While this identification method may not be as helpful when it comes to young ash trees (they typically have smoother bark), the bark on more advanced ash trees tends to have distinct diamond patterns.

If you indeed have found an ash and it’s on public property, you can check on the city’s right-of-way treatment plan to see if it’s scheduled to be treated or replaced. If you’ve found an ash on your property, you have two options: treatment or replacement.

For many smaller ash trees, the best option tends to be replacement. If you have a large ash tree that holds a lot of value to you, there are several treatment options available. In fact, we wrote a whole blog post about those options. But always remember that the best option to consider is starting with a certified tree professional. We have a list of those here.

And if we’ve now gotten you on the hunt for ash trees to enjoy this fall, you can find three hotspots to see ash trees here.

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered In Lafayette, Colorado

Emerald ash borer discovered in Lafayette, Colorado

  • August 9, 2017

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in Lafayette, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) confirmed on Wednesday. Lafayette is now the third city in Colorado facing an EAB infestation.

Not entirely unlike the mountain pine beetle, which decimated pine trees across hundreds of thousands of acres in Colorado’s high country beginning in 2008, EAB has decimated ash tree populations in more than 25 states and parts of Canada, causing billions of dollars in damage over the last 15 years.

CSFS community forestry program manager Keith Wood also confirmed Wednesday the newly found infestation in Lafayette remains within Colorado’s EAB quarantine zone. That zone includes Boulder, where EAB was discovered in 2013, and Longmont, where EAB was discovered in 2016. Lafayette is less than 13 miles from each city.

“Having a new detection in this area was not unexpected,” Wood said. “But it certainly highlights the need for Front Range communities to be planning now, before EAB arrives.”

EAB has not been discovered in Denver, but the Denver City Forester’s Office began formulating its plan to combat the pest in 2013, knowing that 1 in 6 Denver trees is an ash and that it’s just a matter of time before EAB is found in Colorado’s largest city.

In the spring of 2016, the Denver City Forester’s Office launched the Be A Smart Ash campaign, which aims to educate Denver residents about how to identify ash trees and to solicit the public’s help in combating EAB.

Speaking of which, are you a Denver resident who’s unsure of whether you have an ash tree on or around your property? Visit our Do I Have an Ash Tree? page or utilize our interactive map to find out. If you do have an ash tree, visit our What Can I Do? page or our Get a Tree Professional page to begin laying groundwork for your EAB defense plan with the help of a Smart Ash Certified tree care professional.

Curious about how you can protect your ash tree from infestation? We have broken down a list of your EAB treatment options. If you decide you want to remove your ash tree, we can connect you with teams who can help you turn it into a beautiful table, door or even a bicycle. You can also apply for a free tree to be planted in your public right-of-way to help diversify Denver’s tree canopy and prevent against future threats like EAB.

Whatever you decide, let’s be clear: If you don’t make a plan to treat or replace your ash tree in the very near future, chances are you will lose it to EAB. So Be A Smart Ash and act now, Denver!

(Photo Credit: Colorado State Forest Service)

Make Your Emerald Ash Borer Plan At The Colorado Garden & Home Show

Make your emerald ash borer plan at the Colorado Garden & Home Show

  • February 4, 2017

DENVER — Looking to find out if you have an ash tree vulnerable to emerald ash borer? Want to learn how to protect your ash tree from the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history? Would you like to discover a way to cost-effectively turn any urban tree you may need to remove into a functional and beautiful wood product?

Then you need to stop by the Be A Smart Ash booth at the 2017 Colorado Garden & Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver from Feb. 4-12!

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has already destroyed hundreds of millions of ash trees, causing billions of dollars in damage in more than 25 states. And while it may not have arrived in Denver yet, EAB was discovered in Boulder in 2013 and in Longmont just last year. So in reality, it’s only a matter of time before EAB arrives in the Mile High City and poses a direct threat to the Metro area’s 1.45 million ash trees.

That’s right folks: 1 in 6 Denver trees is an ash, and you may not even realize that you have one in your front yard or a nearby right-of-way.

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