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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced an emergency quarantine affecting Pope County based on the first-time discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in an ash tree in the County.

Based on a May 30, 2024 site visit and subsequent collected specimen testing, MDA officials have confirmed the presence on emerald ash borer in an ash tree on privately-owned land in Glenwood Township.

Emerald Ash Borer, or Agrilus Planipennis, is native to East Asia. This species was accidentally introduced to North America, where it has proceeded to spread in range and to kill species of ash trees where it exists.  Since first being discovered in Minnesota in 2009, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has now spread to ash trees in 52 of Minnesota’s counties with the confirmation of spread to Pope County.

According to information from MDA, EAB insect larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Often, the trees show several signs of infestation because of this. Woodpeckers like to feed on EAB larvae, and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of emerald ash borer. Also, EAB tunneling can cause the bark to split open, revealing characteristic S-shaped galleries underneath.

Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Pope County, the MDA is enacting an emergency quarantine of the county. The quarantine limits the movement of firewood and ash material out of the area.  A copy of the Emergency Quarantine Declaration for Pope County can be viewed here.

The MDA issues quarantines for all areas known to have EAB to reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

A virtual informational meeting for residents and tree care professionals in Pope County will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2024, from 10–11 a.m. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

Emerald Ash Borer Virtual Informational Meeting:
June 20, 2024
10–11 a.m.
Register at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the proposal to add Pope County’s emergency quarantine to the state’s formal quarantine. The MDA is taking comments on the proposed formal quarantine now through July 26, 2024, and recommends adopting the quarantine on July 29, 2024. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

Any quarantine encompasses the Emerald Ash Borer insect itself, as well as the following “regulated articles”:

  • Ash logs
  • Ash tree waste
  • Ash chips and mulch
  • All firewood (non-coniferous)

No regulated articles are legally allowed to move outside of a quarantine area (untreated or treated), unless they are accompanied by a MDA certificate. MDA Certificates are only available when a Compliance Agreement (CA) is signed between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and a company, city, county, agency, or organization interested in moving the regulated article.

To prevent the further spread of Emerald Ash Borer:

Don’t transport firewood, as you may introduce an invasive pest into a new area. Remember that infested firewood may not show visible symptoms.

If you do need to transport firewood, buy MDA-certified firewood. MDA certified firewood has been treated to state standards and the MDA has verified the firewood safe to move throughout the state.

If you have any questions regarding safe-to-move firewood or suspect a tree has a reportable pest contact the MDA’s Report a Pest at reportapest@state.mn.us or 888-545-6684.

For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, best practices, or the quarantine placed on Pope County, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website on Emerald Ash Borer here.