Emerald ash borer and your Minnesota woodlands: Management guidelines

Ash management guide for private forest owners  (PDF, 10.5MB plus a single page foldout) is a new resource for family woodland owners in Minnesota who have ash trees on their land. This guide book is a thorough overview of the ash resource in Minnesota including: ash’s history on the landscape; ash tree identification; information on the emerald ash borer (EAB); how to identify native plant communities on your property; wildlife impacted by ash; and other related implications of ash forests and EAB.

Most importantly this guide offers recommendations generated by a panel of experts for private landowners on how to manage their ash. Recommendations, organized by native plant communities, include when to start preparing for ash’s decline, what trees to consider as replacement trees, and likely obstacles that need to be prepared for and managed. This guide may not have all the answers but it should help you understand the problem and guide you towards a management plan to help your forest resilient and healthy.

Ash Management Guidelines for Private Forest Landowners (PDF) is a cooperative project of the University of Minnesota Extension and the Department of Natural Resources with the Forest Stewardship funding and the Renewable Resources Extension Act.

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Guiding principles for managing Minnesota sites with ash:

In April 2010, the The Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership issued Guiding Principles for Managing Sites with Ash in Minnesota (PDF, April 2010). A few highlights are to prioritize management on ash stands, favor non-ash species, reduce stocking and average diameter of ash, reduce ash concentration, regenerate non-ash species, and  protect the hydrology of black ash stands.

Think you’ve got EAB?  Here’s what to do:

Forest Pest First Detector volunteers have been trained in EAB identification, signs and symptoms, look-a-like insects, and even other species of concern including gypsy moth, Asian long horned beetle, Sirex woodwasp, and thousand cankers on walnut.

If you think you have found emerald ash borer, go through the steps at Do I have emerald ash borer? (246 K PDF) to be sure. Then contact the Arrest the Pest hotline at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us. If possible, include detailed location information and a digital photo of the pest.

Video: EAB and your Minnesota woods:


The video has four sections:

  • First Extension’s Jeff Hahn reviews basic EAB biology, dispersal, and impacts on host trees.
  • Second, Keith Jacobson of the MN DNR’s Utilization & Marketing unit briefly reviews markets for ash wood in Minnesota.
  • Third, we head to the woods for brief comments from Paul Dickson, president of the Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters.
  • We close with a summary of research and management recommendations for woodland ash stands from Extension’s Angela Gupta.

Special thanks to Jeff Hahn, Keith Jacobson, Paul Dickson, and Angela Gupta for their contributions to this video.  You can learn much more about EAB in Minnesota at the UMN Extension EAB page.

What are you doing to prepare your woods for EAB?  Leave a comment to let us know.

Angela Gupta
Angie Gupta is an Extension educator with a focus on forest invasive species and private forest land management. She is based at the UMN Extension Rochester Regional Office.

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  1. Just watched the EAB video quite informative, thanks. There was mention of the potential for an ash quarantine and how that would limit the movement of ash sawlogs and therefore limit the value of ash in general. My question is do you know if any ash products can be moved if a quarantine is declared? Specifically, can ash boards be moved and if so what requirements are there, i.e. no sapwood or no bark etc.

    My thought is that some landowners may be interested in having their wood roughsawn by portable mills into boards, say 4/4 or 8/4, before being transported to a lumberyard or pallet manufacturer. Is this possible under our current definition of quarantine?


  2. The following is directly from the Minnesota Department of Agricutlure.

    First, for specific questions regarding the EAB quarantine, call arrest the pest at 1-888-545-6684, and ask to speak to someone on the regulatory crew. Second, under specific circumstances, ash lumber and logs can be transported out of a quarantined area. The good news is that many loggers, sawmills, and arborists will only need to make minor changes to their normal business practices; and some won’t need to make any changes at all. However, if someone wants to move ash out of a quarantine, in any form (log or lumber), they need to contact the MDA for either a compliance agreement or a certificate (provided at no charge).

  3. As I understand it if the bark is removed, PLUS 1″ of sapwood just below the bark, ash can be moved or if it’s heat treated or chipped to less than 1″. For saw logs these last two options aren’t useful. But some landowners may want the logs to be processed, and all bark and the first 1″ of sapwood be removed, and then it can be moved without trouble. Some processes, like heat treatment and chipping, possibly saw milling although I’m not sure, have to be inspected by the MDA before they’re allowed, to insure the process will indeed limit/restrict the spread of EAB. The major in Chicago did just that with a portable saw mill as soon as they announced the first EAB find in Chicago, great publicity. This will not, however, be practical for many landowners once EAB is established, as much because there will be way too much ash material for the current portable saw mill capacity as the markets for ash are likely to hit rock bottom making even removing those trees from the woods a questionable financial decision (not necessarily a questionable forest management decision though – think fire danger, regeneration, etc.).

  4. This video is a step in the right direction for forest landowners,
    but we are still waiting for more data from Michigan on EAB
    in the woods. I’ve been trying to reach the Michigan entomologist
    Deb McCullough for answers to black ash sites…Will keep you
    posted if I learn more…

  5. I look forward to seeing the video.
    Ash Mgmt.-
    Take advantage of other species already present if they are present. Consider site, river bottom vs swale. Ash replaced elm in many river bottom areas. On my property I can favor, aspen, basswood and silver maple in some areas. I have viewed many areas where aspen or balm of Gilead should be cut to expand or maintain this species in ash river bottom areas. Often these aspen areas are very old and just barely hanging on in the river bottoms. Ash is the climax species when the aspen falls out in many of these areas. 50 years from now box elder will probably become more prevalent then it is at present. White cedar, black spruce and white spruce (tamarack rarely, but has some potential) are sometimes also found in association with ash. Many of the wet ash swales will convert to lowland brush and grasses due to the sensitivity of these sites (watertable). When the ash dies the watertables will rise on many of these wetter sites.
    Establishing trees now on river banks (silver maple, bur oak is also a tree which appears to take some flooding in the “border country”) would be a good plan to minimize erosion which may increase when the roots of the ash no longer help stabilize the banks.
    Other parts of the state may have more answers and tree varieties that may work out. The above comments are probably good for the nord end of the state.
    From the border
    Tom Crumpton

  6. Current Minnesota quarantines limit the movement of ash logs during the flight season of the adult beetle, roughly April 1 – September 30. Winter hauling still works. There is still more to learn about the beetle’s life cycle (remember that China, the beetle’s indigenous land, was a communist country which limited some research), so as we learn more quarantines language may have to adapt.

    Steve Nicholson, CF
    Vice-President, MnSTAC
    Minnesota EAB Communications Advisory Group Member