All of N.C. now under quarantine for emerald ash borer pest

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler signed an emergency order today expanding the quarantine for emerald ash borer to include the entire state, following the discovery of borers in several more North Carolina counties.

“We have surveyed the state to see if we could find evidence of this highly destructive pest in previously undetected counties,” said Troxler (R) in a statement. “Our staff have now turned up evidence of emerald ash borers in the central, eastern and western parts of the state, including areas near the borders with Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.”

North Carolina becomes the 15th state in the country with a statewide quarantine. The beetle was first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees across the country. North Carolina’s four native species of ash are white ash, green ash, Carolina ash, and pumpkin ash.

Image credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Image credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The quarantine allows for the in-state movement of hardwood firewood and plants and plant parts of the ash tree, including living, dead, cut or fallen, green lumber, stumps, roots, branches and composted and uncomposted chips. However, movement of these items outside the state into non-quarantined areas is prohibited. Firewood that has been treated, certified and labeled in accordance with federal regulations can be moved outside the quarantine area.

According to the Agriculture Department, symptoms of emerald ash borer in ash trees include a general decline in the appearance of the tree, such as thinning from the top down and loss of leaves. Clumps of shoots, also known as epicormic sprouts, emerging from the trunk of the tree and increased woodpecker activity are other symptoms. The emerald ash borer is not the only pest that can cause these.

Home and landowners are encouraged to report any symptomatic activity in ash trees to the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division hotline at 1-800-206-9333, by email, or by contacting their local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger. Rangers can also suggest treatment options for homeowners.