Three main approaches exist for homeowners dealing with emerald ash borer in Wisconsin. A document with additional details is available from WI-DATCP.
1. Insecticide Treatments: Before beginning insecticide treatments, trees should be evaluated to determine if treatments are justified. The UW-Extension factsheet Is My Ash Tree Worth Treating For Emerald Ash Borer? discusses key considerations, such as overall tree health, location, and treatment costs. Treating with an insecticide reduces the population of EAB and maintains the health of an ash tree. Treatment requires a long-term commitment. It is not known how long EAB will remain in an area, thus treatments may be required for the rest of the tree’s life. Insecticide treatments are not appropriate for large areas (i.e., woodlots) and are cost-prohibitive for large areas.
Additional UW-Extension factsheets discussing treatment options are available for both homeowners and tree-care professionals. Hiring a professional arborist to treat your trees is a consideration for Wisconsin residents.
2. Removal and Replacement: This is an option for ash in all stages of health. Consider contacting a certified arborist to help remove trees (especially large trees) in your yard and to appropriately process wood to prevent additional spread of EAB. Diversity should be planned when replanting in both public and private landscapes. UW-Extension has developed a detailed list of landscape trees for consideration in the planting of the urban forest—available on the resources page. Owners of woodlots and forested areas should consult a DNR forester to develop a plan to help lessen the impacts of EAB.
3. Do Nothing: If you take this option, your ash trees will eventually become infested and die. Be aware of the hazards associated with dead trees such as falling branches which can pose risks to persons and property.
Using ash wood materials: It’s perfectly acceptable to use removed ash trees for lumber, firewood or mulch in your yard. A document describing how to use ash wood for these uses is available from WI-DATCP.
If you have EAB-infested trees that you would like to use as firewood, be aware that EAB can continue to emerge from the wood for up to two years after cutting. To avoid spreading EAB, split and leave the wood to age near where you cut the tree for two summers. After two years of drying, EAB that may have been within the wood will have emerged or died. The aged firewood poses little risk of introducing EAB and you may move it freely within the limits of the quarantine. However, it is strongly encouraged that firewood be used locally, as firewood can transport other insects and plant diseases.