Discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Medford trees prompts quarantine in Steele County

Emerald Ash Borer are a threat to Minnesotans more than 1 billion ash trees. (Minnesota Department of Agriculture / FOX 9)

Steele County is under a tree quarantine after the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found Emerald Ash Borer in several trees in Medford, Minn.

According to the MDA, tree care professionals noticed the several dying ash trees and alerted MDA staff, who collected a sample that confirmed the presence of Emerald Ash Borer Wednesday.

Emerald Ash Borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. First discovered in 2009 in Minnesota, the state’s tree population remains particularly susceptible to the insects due to its more than 1 billion ash trees.

It is the first case of EAB reported in Steele County, so the MDA is enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county.

The MDA hopes the quarantine will stop the spread of the tree-killing insect.

Steele County joins 19 other counties across the state that are under full or partial quarantines due to Emerald Ash Borer.

The MDA says it wants residents to watch out for signs of Emerald Ash Borer to help eliminate it across the state.

“We rely on partners in our tree care, logging, and landscaping industries to help us monitor for emerald ash borer and other invasive pests,” said Mark Abrahamson, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division. “However, we also need every Minnesotan to be vigilant. Know and look for signs of invasive pests; don’t move firewood and other materials around that may transport these insects; and, report anything unusual to us at the MDA.”

Further, Steele County residents are invited to an open house Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. regarding the Emerald Ash Borer discovery.

Emerald Ash Borer Open House details:

When: Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 6 – 8 p.m.

Where: Steele County Administration Building, Board Room, Owatonna, MN 55060

To provide input or comments on the quarantine, visit the open house or contact:

Kimberly Thielen Cremers

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

625 Robert Street North

St. Paul, MN 55155

Fax: 651-201-6108