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.

Video: Planting Unique Trees May Protect Denver From EAB

Video: Planting unique trees may protect Denver from EAB

  • September 6, 2017

DENVER — Getting the word out about the emerald ash borer (EAB) and its potential impact on Denver’s 330,000 ash trees is a full-time job, and our friends at 9NEWS — more specifically, the producers of the show “Colorado & Company” — have been a big help.

Our very own friendly Denver City Forester Rob Davis appeared on the show recently, explaining whether EAB has been found in Denver, how many vulnerable ash trees we have in Denver and why they’re valuable, how you can identify an ash tree, the tell-tale signs of EAB, whether it makes sense to keep or replace your ash, your EAB treatment options, the city’s plan to treat Denver’s public ash trees and potential trees you can plant besides ash to help diversify and protect our urban tree canopy.

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CPR: Denver Proactive In Battling Emerald Ash Borer

CPR: Denver proactive in battling emerald ash borer

  • August 25, 2017

DENVER — If Denver City Forester Rob Davis is looking to get under his family’s collective skin, all he has to do is start climbing an ash tree looking under the bark for signs of emerald ash borer (EAB).

“I drive them crazy, because I do it all the time,” Davis told Colorado Public Radio. “I’m always looking for (EAB). I’ve even climbed trees at a middle school, just thinking I’m going to find it. So sure.”

EAB is yet to be discovered in Denver, but consider its discovery in Boulder in 2013 and in Lafayette earlier this year, the Mile High City desperately wants to be prepared for what Davis called “single most destructive urban pest that Denver will ever have in its urban forest.”

From Denver’s interactive ash tree map to its efforts to guide residents about their treatment options to this very website and campaign, BeASmartAsh.org, Davis went on to explain to CPR in detail the $2.97 million, 10-year plan the city has implemented to try to cement Denver’s legacy as one of preparedness when it comes to EAB.

(Photo Credit: Colorado Public Radio)

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)

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Options For Your Denver Ash Tree

Emerald ash borer treatment options for your Denver ash tree

  • August 1, 2017

DENVER — The emerald ash borer (EAB), which feeds on ash trees and is now the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history, has arrived in Colorado, and it’s knocking on Denver’s door. That fact is overwhelming in its own right.

But you might find yourself even more overwhelmed by all the treatments options available to protect your ash tree from EAB. That’s where we come in!

For starters, there are four treatment options that have been examined at length as part of a multi-state insecticide study from Colorado State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue universities. Below is a breakdown of each option.

You might also be happy to know that your Friendly Denver City Forester has put together a list of Certified Smart Ash tree professionals, all of whom have the right mix of know-how and tools to safely and effectively protect your tree from EAB.

  1. Trunk injection
    • Who applies treatment: Licensed pesticide applicators
    • Treatment process: A licensed pesticide applicator will drill through the bark and into the outer sapwood of the ash tree, where they will inject the insecticide
    • Frequency: 1-3 years, depending on selected product
    • Effectiveness: When properly administered by a licensed professional, some trunk injections have shown to be 90 percent effective at controlling EAB, making this treatment the most effective method by far
    • Drawbacks: Cost and potential drilling wounds. While the most effective, trunk injections that last multiple years are typically more expensive than other EAB treatments.
  2. Soil drench
    • Who applies treatment: Licensed pesticide applicators, or property owners (if ash tree is under 15” diameter at 4.5’ off the ground)
    • Treatment process: Though soil drenches vary, they’re typically applied in the form of liquid or as granules that are then watered into the soil around the tree after the area beneath the tree has been cleared, thus allowing the soil drench to take hold in the roots of the tree
    • Frequency: The ideal frequency varies by product and the size of the ash tree being treated. But soil drench treatments should not be applied more than once a year.
    • Effectiveness: Inconsistent. In some trials, EAB control was excellent, while others yielded poor results. That said, soil drenches administered by tree professionals proved to be more effective.
    • Drawbacks: Effectiveness and environmental impact. While they proved to be better EAB control than no treatment, soil drenches are significantly more likely to fail than trunk injections. They’re also more likely to impact plants, insects or animals that may be near the tree.
  3. Bark spray
    • Who applies treatment: Licensed pesticide applicators
    • Treatment process: This formulated insecticide is sprayed on the bottom five to six feet of the ash tree using a common garden sprayer. That insecticide then penetrates the bark and is transported systemically throughout the tree.
    • Frequency: Once a year
    • Effectiveness: Inconsistent. The results of effectiveness testing on bark sprays have yielded similar results when compared to the testing on soil drenches.
    • Drawbacks: Effectiveness and environmental impact. Pesticide can blow onto adjacent plants, potentially impacting plants, insects or animals nearby.
  4. Tree removal and replacement
    • Who applies treatment: Professionals
    • Treatment process: While some property owners may be savvy enough to plant a tree on their own, removing a tree is a complicated process that requires a tree professional – often times for permitting reasons
    • Frequency: Just once
    • Effectiveness: 100 percent. While getting a new tree to take hold presents its own challenges, removing and properly disposing of an ash tree is 100 percent effective at controlling the spread of EAB.
    • Drawbacks: Losing a tree that may have intrinsic value to the property owner

So which EAB treatment method is the best for ash trees in Metro Denver, an area that includes 1.45 million ash trees? Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer.

The best treatment for your Denver ash depends on a variety of factors, and it really comes down to property owner preference, according to Denver City Forester Rob Davis.

“Step one has to be educating yourself — gain an understanding of the options and then make a decision about what’s best for you,” Davis said. “In reality, the best place to start is with a good arborist.”

So what defines a good arborist? Start with one who has been licensed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to apply pesticides.

When you should be treating your ash tree? It’s true that EAB is yet to be discovered in Denver, but considering the pest has already been found in Boulder and Longmont, it’s just a matter of time before it arrives in Denver.

Tree Climbing Arborists Help Raise EAB Awareness

Tree climbing arborists help raise EAB awareness

  • July 24, 2017

DENVER — Arborists from across Colorado gathered in Denver’s Washington Park for the 2017 International Society of Arboriculture’s Rocky Mountain Chapter Tree Climbing Competition. Here, these talented professionals showed off the skills they utilize day-to-day caring for trees around the state.

From the speed climb competition to much more technical climbs, arborists put a mix of athletics, tree knowledge and math skills on display — and 9NEWS was there to capture it all.

Illustrating their true team spirit, this year’s participants all donned Be A Smart Ash competition shirts, helping raise awareness about an issue they combat every day in their field, the emerald ash borer (EAB). Now the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history, EAB has devoured ash trees in more than 25 states and caused billions of dollars in damage.

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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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