The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle whose larvae feeds upon the inner bark of ash trees. This interferes with the ash tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, eventually resulting in the death of the tree. EAB is responsible for killing hundreds of millions of ash trees across the U.S. The dying trees pose a public safety threat in populated areas because the trunk becomes brittle, making the trees difficult to remove and liable to fall on roads and houses.
Vermont’s forestlands average 5-7% ash but can be 40% or higher in places. Ash trees are commonly found along rural roads. EAB arrived northern Vermont in 2018 and has gradually spread throughout the state. It was first detected in Guilford in 2023, but the Guilford Conservation Commission has been proactively planning for its arrival since 2017 when we began coordinating with the Selectboard and the town road crew to identify ash trees most likely to become hazards to roads and town property.
In July 2019 a group of volunteers from Guilford and surrounding towns were trained by Elise Shadler of the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program to learn how to use a dedicated GPS program to identify and record the locations of ash trees along all town roads and properties. We learned how to measure the trees and record information about their condition.
Over the next two years, we surveyed ash trees on all of Guilford’s 81 town roads (67.07 total road miles), 7 town properties, and 9 town cemeteries. We recorded 2744 ash trees, noting 483 of these for priority removal because of their poor condition.
Our 2020 Ash Tree Report to the Selectboard describes the goals and findings of our survey in detail. Jeff Nugent, GIS specialist at Windham Regional Commission, created this Ash Inventory Atlas in 2020 from the data we collected. It serves as a reference for our Road Commissioner in prioritizing hazardous trees for removal. The Conservation Commission plans to use the atlas to update the inventory in the years ahead, and residents may find it interesting to see the distribution of ash trees throughout town. A print copy of the atlas is available on the GCC library cart in the town office.
Emerald Ash Borer Resources
The Conservation Commission encourages Guilford landowners to learn to identify ash trees on their own properties and to plan for the treatment, removal, or replacement of ash trees that may become hazardous.
The Vermont Invasives website contains many resources on the emerald ash borer in Vermont. Here you will also find a regularly updated map of areas in Vermont infested with EAB.
This video provides a good introduction to the Emerald Ash Borer:
Other useful resources for landowners include: