Some general observations about EAB and Lincoln

Local officials estimate there are over 60,000 ash trees in Lincoln: 50,000 on private property and 14,000 on public property.  I estimate 1 out of 10 ash trees are potential candidates for protection for EAB.  If you have an ash tree on your property and you are reading this you are probably wanting to keep it, it is probably among the 10%!  Untreated trees should removed soon or enjoyed until their demise is inevitable.  A rational prediction is that significant incidence of canopy decline in ash trees in Lincoln is still probably a few years away, widescale tree death will take several more years, and the loss of ALL unprotected trees in 10+ additional years.

A lack of understanding regarding EAB prevails in Lincoln as it has in other communities as the bug started spreading from the Great Lakes region 19 (or perhaps many more) years ago.  Initial methods of protecting trees were unsuccessful and this led to a general lack of trust in treatment methods, but treatment methods have improved dramatically since then.  The current gold standard in treatment only attained that status approximately 8 years ago.

Lincoln is part of a trend of too late adoption with regard to treatments and this translates to reduced success rates.   Underlying this shortcoming is the defacto strategy of waiting for damage before commencing treatment.  Many ash enter the EAB window with pre-existing damage from other boring insects which may or may not be identifiable and treated by additional means.  It makes sense to control these insects as well since insecticides that are effective for controlling EAB (and some or most of the other, less invasive, ash borers in Lincoln) need to be conducted throughout the tree by healthy vascular tissues to inhibit the insect.  The devouring of that same vascular tissue by eab and other larvae is the principle factor in the tree’s demise.  A lack of conductivity of the pesticide in borer-weakened vascular tissues is similar to the problem of trying to drink through a straw with holes in it.

In summary, protecting Lincoln’s ash trees combines a daunting deadline with the phenomenon that economists call “the market for lemons,” whereby “information asymmetry is said to lead to an adverse selection syndrome.”  In other words, the confusion and disappointment of thousands of dead, mistreated, and untreated ash trees in previously affected cities parlays distrust in treatment methods in future/adjacent EAB locales.  Existing customers and potential customers give up on protecting their ash tree due to lack of faith and/or knowledge.  My purpose for authoring the information on this website is to alleviate the knowledge gap present in Lincoln between ash tree owners and academic researchers who have demonstrated a “cure” for the EAB phenomenon that is appropriate for individual high value trees.  Alas, a mature marketplace for EAB management is absent as Lincoln navigates the critical early phases of the EAB era.

Thank you for reviewing the information on this site.  If you have ANY questions or comments I hope you will give me, Will Frerichs, a ring to discuss.  Call or text anytime at 402-476-0499.

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