Do you have a large property with ash trees? You’ll need to do 3 things

Sept. 14, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Aspen Arboriculture Solutions.

By Sam Kezar, owner of Aspen Arboriculture Solutions

If there’s one thing we have in Sioux Falls, it’s ash trees.

There are a lot.

And we don’t have them in just backyards and boulevards but all over.

If you’re a business or a neighborhood association, you likely have responsibility for even more trees.

And now that the emerald ash borer, or EAB, has been found in Sioux Falls, many organizations and homeowners have been forced to act. While we knew the beetle would get here eventually, most people didn’t plan ahead.

Now, it’s a matter of being smart, acting quickly and developing a plan that won’t ruin your landscape or your bank account. That is where I can help.

To start tackling EAB, we’ll need to do these three things together:

Take inventory

In order to manage trees, you first need to know what you have. This involves getting an inventory of all the species of trees in an area or property. And it involves more than just counting how many trees you have. Multiple factors can determine how a property is managed, so getting a detailed and complete inventory is the most critical tool in tree management. Tree condition is probably the most valuable piece of information for the issue of managing for EAB. Having all your tree locations digitally mapped also can help you see your overall tree locations and better see where all the trees are and how removing them may impact a site.

I use a online-based program that not only gathers and stores all the gathered information on each tree, but also plots it onto a satellite map that can be sorted and filtered, and shows each tree’s location with a colored dot. The dot indicates a tree’s location or potential location and varies in size based on the tree’s size. A user can easily and effectively get a picture of what they have and how it all plots out to a property. And since it’s web-based, you can look at it anytime from a phone, tablet or anywhere you have an internet connection.

Set long-term goals

The hardest part about the process in dealing with EAB will be putting a value to the trees you have and developing a plan for their long-term management. Emerald ash borer will kill all ash trees that are not directly injected on a regular and professional basis. That’s the simple truth. When they will die will depend on a bunch of factors, but if you are in Sioux Falls or very close, the trees will not be around after 10 years if left untreated. So you need to look at budgets, how you value the trees and weigh all the factors against the inventory of your trees and come up with a plan.

Professional direct-injection treatments are very effective. And because of that, ash tree removal can be managed in staggered intervals with proper planning. This will help you to not lose all the trees in a short period of time and destroy the canopy you may already have.

A lot of services have started offering to treat trees. And like all businesses, they have to start somewhere. But experience, EAB and tree knowledge, and equipment are things to consider when having someone treat your ash trees. This early in the pest stage of EAB entering our city, the margin for injection error can be great without much consequence. But without careful knowledge and planning as the beetle infestation grows, there will be little room for user error in injecting trees. So make sure you get someone who knows the trees, beetles and injection process.

Consider replacements

If there is a silver lining in this, it’s that we now have an opportunity to create a strong, healthy and diverse urban forest. Take the time and carefully choose what species you will use to replace those ash trees being lost or replaced. If it’s one thing we are not good at, it’s planting diversity in the landscape. First, it was too many elms, then too many ash and now we are seeing way too many maple trees. Look at your inventory and replace trees so there is no more than 5 percent of any one species, 10 percent to 15 percent in any one genus and 20 percent to 30 percent in any one family. It may seem impossible with our climate and soils, but it’s not. With careful coordination and planning, there are plenty of trees we can plant and use to gain the diversity percentages mentioned. By doing so, you will have far less exposure to a situation like this in the future.

Maple is the most abundant family of trees in the world. That means it has the most disease and pest issues out there. With global markets and several other destructive diseases looming, the threat to our urban forests is greater than ever. By having a long-term management plan for your property, you can reduce costs of tree removal or treatments while maintaining a beautiful and functional property. Plus, you’ll be able to better weather the storm when EAB drastically changes our landscape or the next issue appears down the road.

Aspen Arboriculture Solutions is foremost an arboriculture consulting company. I pride myself in striving to provide the very best in science-based tree care information. We do offer plant health care services, but our mission is providing information to our clients so they can make the best decisions for their landscape. If you run a business with trees that need managing or have a large property that needs input on managing trees, we can help.

Call or text to 605-759-6020, email, or fill out the consultation request form on the website at

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Do you have a large property with ash trees? You’ll need to do 3 things

Now that emerald ash borer is in Sioux Falls, it’s a matter of being smart, acting quickly and developing a plan that won’t ruin your landscape or your bank account. That’s where he can help.

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