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Emerald Ash Borer poses bigger threat to central New York trees that expected

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The Emerald Ash Borer poses a major threat to ash trees in Onondaga County.

Homeowners in parts of Onondaga County with ash trees on their property, need to take action sooner than expected to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer. 

Jesse Lyons of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County says there’s evidence that the invasive insect has spread to almost  the eastern border of Onondaga County.

"Now that we’ve found this spread, we’re finding that it probably has been in our community much longer than expected.  Probably eight years," Lyons said. “We’ve found a significant spread of Emerald Ash Borer, that is now in Kirkville, Minoa, Manlius, Dewitt, and more established populations on the northside.”

The Emerald Ash Borer can kill a tree in as little as two years. Lyons says this intensifies messages to homeowners to either take down ash trees, or treat them with pesticide. Experts say ultimately, the insect will destroy central New York’s ash tree population, which makes up 13 percent of the trees in this part of the state.

Lyons says it’s best to take action before the end of the month, before the Emerald Ash Borer season begins May 1.

"Their tree might look healthy this year but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be okay next year," Lyons said. "So they’re going to need to make a plan right away. They need to know if they have an ash tree, and they have to consult an arborist. And they need to know if they are going to remove the tree or treat it. They have to do it one way or another. They can’t wait for a tree to be so far gone that it’s too dangerous to remove."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.