Invasive tree insect threatens more than a million trees around Denver

Cities prepare for Emerald Ash Borer

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - The city of Broomfield will spend close to $200,000 in an effort to save its ash trees.

City leaders approved around $195,000 for a plan to combat the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect which has continued to spread around Boulder for the last three years.

Tom Wells, forester for the City and County of Broomfield told Denver7 the insect has become a threat now that it’s just 10 miles away from the city.

“You hate to see it happen but it’s here,” he said, “and it’s going to happen.”

The insect was first spotted in Michigan in 2002 and has since spread to other states.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture estimates the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has killed millions of ash trees around the United States.

Wells estimates ash trees make up around 15 percent of the trees around the city.  

“It's going to be a significant loss when you’re looking at losing 1 in 5 trees,” he said.

The Colorado State Forest Service collected ash bark tree samples around Broomfield to store and look for any insects that appear to be EAB. 

So far, Wells said they haven’t spotted the bug, but will continue to monitor and plant new trees during the spring.

Boulder County is currently under a quarantine where people are banned from transporting ash trees into other areas to avoid contamination.

“We’re forecasting that as this infestation progresses well be having to remove more and more trees,” said Josh Morin, an arborist and co-owner of Taddikin Tree Company in Boulder.

He’s been treating ash trees around Boulder, injecting them with a pesticide to salvage as many ash trees as he can.

In the meantime, cities like Broomfield and Denver are working to prevent the insect from spreading to their trees.

The Colorado Forest Service projects the insect could cause some $82 million worth of damages in Denver alone. 

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