Did you buy an ash tree this summer? It could carry an invasive pest

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is seeking the public’s help in locating three ash trees that may carry the emerald ash borer.

AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is seeking the public’s help in locating ash trees sold by a major retailer in Maine this summer.

Entomologists are concerned that they may contain emerald ash borer, a tree-killing insect that wipes out ash trees in areas where it is present.

The emerald ash borer arrived in North America from overseas late in the last century. From its initial beachhead in Michigan, it has spread throughout more than half the country in wood products including firewood, but also in trees sold for planting.

Last month, DACF personnel discovered ash trees for sale at a major retailer that had been shipped from a New Jersey nursery that was inside an emerald ash borer quarantine area. Those trees were immediately removed from sale and destroyed. The New Jersey nursery reported shipping three additional trees to Maine stores, which were sold before DACF personnel discovered the quarantine violation.

Because they may pose a threat to Maine’s forest resources, the DACF is asking for the public’s help in locating the remaining three trees. They would have been purchased this summer from a major retailer with several stores in Maine. They were potted, retailed for $120, and were labeled as Fraxinus pennsylvanica Patmore on the tree tags and Fraxinus oxycarpa “Raywood” on the container sticker.

If you have possession of one or more of these plants, please send a picture of the tree, tree tag or sales receipt to [email protected]. Trees that are confirmed to have been part of this shipment will have to be inspected and possibly destroyed. Reimbursement for the cost of the trees will be arranged.

The DACF suggests that people refrain from planting any kind of ash tree (Fraxinus spp., not mountain-ash) or white fringe tree in the state since emerald ash borer has been discovered in the northern border towns of Maine and because the state is also surrounded by emerald ash borer infestations in Vermont, New Hampshire, New Brunswick and Quebec.

Ornamental ash in areas with emerald ash borer require regular pest management treatments for survival. Visit www.maine.gov/eabfor more information about emerald ash borer.

To report an ash tree purchase, contact [email protected] or 287-2431.

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