City of Boulder hosts meeting on Emerald Ash Borer

BOULDER, Colo. -- As the Emerald Ash Borer sweeps through Boulder, the city hosted an open house on Saturday to offer expert advice on carrying for ash trees and to ask for help from the community to spread the word about the invasive species.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species from Asia. It's estimated the beetle has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees as it's made its way through the Midwest and into other regions of the U.S.

Forestry experts believe the beetle came to Boulder five or six years ago. Right now, ash trees account for 15 percent of Boulder's canopy, equating to 600,000 trees.

The City of Boulder's Forestry Division estimates 6,000 ash trees are on public land and in its domain. It's selected 1,500 to try and save from the beetles, but the other 4,500 will slowly die as the bug makes its way through the area. The Forestry Division is reaching out to the public to help tackle the issue, since a majority of the city's ash trees are on private land.

"Ash really does comprise 15 percent of all the leaf cover that covers Boulder and that’s a lot," said one of the city's forestry division employees. "To lose that in a short window would be an impact on our storm drains, on our urban heat island effect, on the shade we read a book under."

The city of Boulder hosted an open house on Saturday in hopes of helping neighborhoods impacted by the bugs. The city of Boulder also asked attendees to share insight on what they'd like to see in terms of outreach and communication with the community.

The forestry division said people have two options for ash trees on their properties. If a certain ash tree is valuable or cherished, homeowners can choose from a variety of pesticides to inject into the tree to keep the bugs at bay. Or, if the tree goes untreated, homeowners need to be prepared to cut it down and plant a new variety of tree in its place.