By Marielle Mohs

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — Emerald ash borers are an invasive, yet common beetle that feeds on and kills ash trees in 40% of Minnesota counties. Apple Valley is one metro community seeing the problem firsthand, which is hard for residence to see, as the area is known to be heavily forested.

“I think it is few and far between when you come through neighborhoods like this and there are a lot of trees,” said Melanie Gorham, who frequently walks her dog, Lucy, along Diamond Path Rd., which has several trees infested with emerald ash borers.

READ MORE: Maple Grove Launches 20-Year Plan To Save Ash Trees

Orange dots marks the spot on the trees along this road that will be cut down because of emerald ash borers.

“If they’re going to rip a lot of these down and not re-plant, that’s a huge concern,” said Gorham, “It looks gorgeous in the fall, but without these it’s going to look bleak.”

Since 2009, Apple Valley Parks and Recreation identified over 800 Ash Trees in their maintained areas. While they’ve been cutting down what they can’t save, they promise to keep a tree canopy standing.

“We’ve removed about 100 of them, or 15% of them, “ said Eric Carlson, the director of Apple Valley Parks and Recreation. “We’ve also replaced an equal amount of them, if not more.”

READ MORE: U Of M Scientists Discover Fungi That 'Attack' Emerald Ash Borer

Carlson says they’re growing back a tree canopy with a better tactic. They’re replacing the ash trees with more diversity, so this doesn’t happen again.

“If we plant different kinds of trees, some of them may be susceptible to one thing or another, but they’re not all susceptible to the same thing, so we have a greater chance of saving trees and having a more diverse tree species,” said Carlson.

A couple ways to know if your trees have been infested with emerald ash borers is to pay attention to the bark. If it looks like the the bark has been flecked away and the first layer underneath is exposed, that’s usually a sign of an EAB infestation. Also if you see small holes drilled into the tree by woodpeckers looking for EAB larvae.

“If a resident has a private tree and they’re wondering what the health of that tree is they can certainly give us a call,” said Carlson, “We’d be happy to try and help them and give them some advice.”

The number to get ahold of the Apple Parks and Rec Department is (952) 953-2300.

MORE NEWS: MN Communities Receive $1 Million In Grants To Fight Off Invasive Beetles Killing Ash Trees

To help prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer, the Minnesota DNR says avoid spread firewood from infected areas to uninfected areas.

Marielle Mohs