Beetle Species Pose Potential Harm To Tulsa Ash Trees

Monday, January 13th 2020, 10:54 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The City of Tulsa Parks Department said it's preparing to battle a beetle, which can kill ash trees.

Experts said the Emerald Ash Borer can quickly kill those trees, causing damage to Tulsa’s ecosystem.

Urban foresters like David Zucconi are on high alert. The green beetle may look harmless, but experts said it can wreak havoc on Ash Trees.

"It basically bores into the tree and the young pupa will come out and eat from the inside out to starve the tree by cutting off nutrients and moisture," said David Zucconi, an urban forester with City of Tulsa Parks Department.

That’s important to Zucconi because he said losing the Ash Trees will damage Tulsa's ecological system and its tree canopy. Right now, the parks department said they are anticipating trying to save about 800 to 900 ash trees.

He said although the last EAB's were last sighted in Oklahoma back in 2016, the bug is slowly moving from the Northeast part of the country toward our state.

"The City of Tulsa is preparing, has been preparing, monitoring for several years and watching the progress," said Zucconi.

Zucconi said the bug is slowly inching closer to Oklahoma traveling about 5 to 10 miles a year and is coming from the Northeast. Zucconi said his biggest fear is the bug traveling though firewood, because the beetles may be inside the wood. He said the best thing for people to do is to not bring firewood into the state.

"It’s generally where you cut your firewood burn it. We just say don't travel with your wood. They leave that log and they will go to another tree," said Zucconi.

Zucconi said no one knows when the bug will hit Oklahoma, but he said Tulsa will be ready for battle.

"We are ready to have a pleasant peaceful war where we win and the trees win," he said.

If you spot the bug call the Oklahoma Forestry Services at 918-519-8700. For more information visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service web page by clicking here.