Emerald Ash Borer

Prior to the infestation, Ash Trees were a very popular variety of street tree and large numbers of them were planted because they provided an attractive canopy, were a relatively easy tree to maintain and worked well within the tight sidewalk planting belts that are very common throughout the Township.

The introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) began its infestation of Ash Trees over two decades ago in various regions throughout the United States. It sealed the fate of the Ash Tree as an appropriate street tree. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) spread across the United States from west to east and was first noted along the east coast and specifically in Montclair in August 2016. Today the Emerald Ash Borer continues the steady decline of Montclair Township’s Ash Tree population.

It is nationally recognized that there are two ways to address damages to Ash Trees due to EAB. One is the removal of the infested tree, and the second option is to provide treatment which includes soil injection of chemicals to suppress the insects. Given the environmental and safety concerns with the use of large amounts of pesticide to combat this pest, as well as the estimated 2,000 Ash Trees located within Township properties, Montclair has decided to remove all Ash Trees. Many other municipalities have also taken this course of action for similar reasons.

Although you may have seen some Ash Trees removed on your street, others have been left for removal at a later date. Our Shade Tree department is now only looking for actual symptoms of the infestation. The strategy that Township has adopted is to concentrate on the removal of trees that are showing the signs of severe decline first. The removals may appear to be random however they are carefully planned out. Along with the tree removals, the Township is also replacing the Ash Trees with other suitable varieties on a one-to-one basis. Please be advised that while the number of trees removed will be replaced one-for-one, they may not all be replaced in the same locations. That is, if two trees are removed in front of a particular residence replacement of two trees at the same address may not be appropriate and only one will be replanted. The additional tree will be planted elsewhere in town to maintain the tree inventory.

Remember that the EAB will infect any Ash Tree, both on public and private property. That means any Ash Tree on your private property will also become infected over time if not infested already. You also have the option of removal or treatment. On the smaller residential scale, treatment may be a viable option if you want to attempt to save a particular tree. Contact a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert to obtain more information on the treatment that is available and to determine whether the tree is a viable candidate for the treatment option.

Tens of millions of Ash Trees have already succumbed to this insect nationwide. Additional information about the Emerald Ash Borer can be obtained at the following link: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/emeraldashborer.html.

The Township wants to assure all residents of Montclair that the Shade Tree Department arborists’ first priority is public safety and the health and well-being of the approximately 20,000 public trees along streets, parks and public properties. With all of the changes in our landscape, these professionals maintain their professional certifications and stay continuously updated by attending the Garden State Tree Conference and NJ Shade Tree Federation annual meetings, along with other seminars provided by Rutgers University and others to stay up-to-date with the latest information and strategies other towns are implementing.

Based upon these continual interactions, forestry professionals are concerned with other tree issues which are rapidly following the EAB concerns. Another invasive pest has been recently identified which has been slowly moving through eastern Pennsylvania and is now starting to migrate into western New Jersey. The Spotted Lantern Fly is an invasive insect that favors fruit trees, ornamental trees and Ailanthus and some other shade trees. Additional information regarding this insect can be found on-line at: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html

emerald ash borer insect