Emerald ash borer claims more Saugerties trees

The emerald ash borer’s rampage (artist’s representation)

The emerald ash borer’s rampage (artist’s representation)

An iridescent Asian beetle responsible for the death of millions of trees in the Midwest is consolidating its hold over Saugerties ash trees. The emerald ash borer, first spotted in Saugerties at a campground in 2010, is now present in trees throughout the town.

With no practicable way to halt the spread of the beetle, Saugerties ash trees are an endangered species.

“I really think their days may be numbered here in the village,” said a saddened George Terpening, superintendent of parks, buildings and grounds.


Last year, the village removed three grand old ash trees from the Village Beach park, as well as trees at the Kiersted House on Main St. and Seamon Park. This year, it will remove two more from Seamon Park and several across the street.

It’s in its larvae stage that the beetle does its worst, feeding under the bark of trees, which cuts off the tree’s flow of water and nutrients. The trees that are infested are dead within two or three years. Ash borers don’t fly very far from where they are hatched; scientists say they spread through firewood. A DEC quarantine forbidding transport of wood across county lines or more than 50 miles is in effect.

When the weather warms, the village will survey trees on village property and remove any that show signs of infestation, including small D-shaped holes, dead areas in the canopy and winding pathways eaten out of wood under the bark.

While there is a spray that can be used, at between $200 to $300 a tree, it doesn’t always work. “So we will cut them down, burn them,” said Terpening. “This is the year we have to bite the bullet and take care of the problem.”

There are 4 comments

  1. Chad

    There are soil and direct inject systemic options to save an ash tree. The full canopy spray is a relic of the past, Arboriculture has grown. I would only recommend saving safe, healthy uninfected trees that add valve to a home and property where it makes economical sense to do so. The cost reported seems a bit high, unless this includes a FULL inspection and FULL report from a reputable arborist. Follow up care is less of an investment and treatment may last multiple years depending on the product used. Again I stress treatment for safe and health ash where it makes economical sense to do so.

  2. Jeremy Sayers

    Chad is correct. Injections are 99% effective and last for 3 years. Legitimate certified arborists charge between $10-$20 per diameter inch. So, a 10 inch tree can be saved for as little as $33 per year.

  3. TreeDoctor

    To follow up further on Chad’s comments, this notion of inevitability of tree loss, is based on much misinformation. The loss of the trees is not necessary. The quote on treatment is high, unless a tree is substantial, but there are several things to remember: With the product emamectin benzoate, sold only for use by licensed applicators, it provides two years of protection from a single treatment. Most cities are re-treating in year three, as the research is showing even greater protection than 2 years, and this product can be used even after the tree has been infested with EAB. Research has demonstrated that a tree can still be saved as long as the canopy thinning, one of the first signs, has not exceeded 50%. This means that trees can be treated even after attack. Finally, the cost to remove and replace versus treat: Typical removal and replacement cost for a 17″ash, which is the average city ash, runs from $750-$1200. all costs included. Treatment of that same 17″diameter ash runs from about $59. evvery 2.5 years for city treatment, or about $110 when contracted out. Most applications for residential treatments run $8-$12/diameter inch, while city contracted out costs are typically in the $6-8 range. Here is the bottom line,a city can typically treat it’s tree for decades before treatment reaches removal and replacement cost, and by the way, treatments with emamectin benzoate show over 90% effective. There are some solutions which are not as good, but this is as close to a sure bet as it comes. The science is all there.

  4. scott

    Does anyone know if the large tree to the left of the old Dragon Inn is a Ash? It’s probably the most majestic tree in the area and I’ve notice that it’s canopy started to change last year. It appears that something suddenly started to effect this tree.

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