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The Cost of the Emerald Ash Borer

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The exotic invasive Emerald Ash borer, an Asian beetle, was first found in the US in Michigan in 2002, it probably arrived in solid wooden packing material. Today this insect is active in thirty states (South Carolina was just added on August 3rd). Hundreds of millions of ash trees have died in the 15 years since this insect arrived.  The natural stands of American ash species are predominantly in the northern eastern half of the country, with an estimate of eight billion individuals. Trees in which Emerald Ash Borer females lay their eggs are killed within three years. In many Midwestern states and Colorado, ash trees are the major urban species. In Denver where the borer is active, the cost to remove the doomed ash trees is $435 million dollars, replacing them would be another $500 million plus more.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.