Courtesy University of Minnesota

Emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that kills ash trees, are getting closer to southwest Minnesota. Last Thursday, the City of New Ulm received a grant from the Minnesota DNR to help push the insects back. Collectively, 25 communities — spanning from Bemidji to Winona — will receive nearly $1 million for tree inventories, management plans, ash removal, and tree planting.

In New Ulm — where more than 20 percent of the trees are ash, and boulevards are dotted with 2,600 ash trees — the discovery of emerald ash borer last year raised concern over how the city would cover the cost of tree removal and replacement. New Ulm City Planner John Knisley stated, “In addition to reducing the financial burden for city residents, our grant allows us to reduce the potential for future insect and disease problems by replanting with a diversity of tree species.”

To date, EAB has been confirmed in 23 Minnesota counties.