In early May, the Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in trees in northern Sioux Falls. Now two months later, KELOLAND News is checking in on how the city is handling the infestation.
Jason Bofenkamp has been working with Arbor Care Tree and Lawn for over 20 years. With the Emerald Ash Borer now in Sioux Falls, his company has been busy treating trees.
“One or more people are doing this everyday right now, unless it’s pouring rain, or the very, very hot weather and later on in the afternoon shuts down the process, so we usually don’t do it too late in the day but otherwise yes, multiple people are out trying to save the trees in Sioux Falls,” President of Arbor Care tree and lawn, Jason Bofenkamp said.
Right now his business is treating the trees with an insecticide, in the same spot where the Emerald Ash Borer is going to do damage.
“We inject that insecticide into the tree and then it’s translocated throughout the tree, or spread, and then that protects the tree from the feeding borers,” Bofenkamp said.
Kristi Vonk is an operations manager with Arbor Car Tree and Lawn. She is one of the people who injects the trees.
“The first step in the process is you have to measure the DBH, is what it’s called in the business, diameter breast high, and that’s what determines in mills how much of the insecticide we put in the tree and it determines how many plugs we place into the tree,” Bofenkamp said.
The next step in the process is drill, plug, and inject.
“We have to drill a hole, about an inch deep or so with a nice drill bit so we have access to the trees vascular system, then we place a plug in it that holds the insecticide in the tree and allows us to apply pressure, and then we inject,” Bofenkamp said.
This treatment is aimed to help slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.
“The more people to get on board, the better,” Bofenkamp said.
SD Department of Ag Forest Health Specialist, John Ball says treating the trees is the way to go. In fact, he says the city of Sioux Falls has a restriction on cutting Ash trees.
“We would hate to see is somebody cutting down an Ash tree in the northern part of town, chipping it up or cutting it into wood, going to the southern part of Sioux Falls and either leaving the wood or working during the day and the adults coming out of it, so that’s why for this year and perhaps next year restriction,” SD Department of Ag Forest Health Specialist, John Ball said.
Plus, this time of year is when the Emerald Ash Borer is on the move.
“Right now it’s flying so between Memorial Day and Labor Day is when the beetles are out of the trees flying and finding new homes for their kids and they tend to fly and attack the same tree they came out of if it’s still alive, but they will wander,” Ball said.
Which is why Bofenkamp hopes homeowners will take the time to get their trees treated.
“The longer you wait, the more at risk you put your trees, so if you like your trees, you should treat your trees,” Bofenkamp said.
And if you do, make sure you are informed.
“Since this is a good time to be out treating your trees, and we’ve told people to do that, this is also a good time to be a good consumer, make sure that you’re only treating Ash trees, and make sure the company can identify Ash trees,” Ball said.
At the end of July, Ball says they will release a parasitoid, which is an insect that attacks the Emerald Ash Borer and kills it. This is just another way to help slow the population increase of Emerald Ash Borer.