Program Helps Communities Prepare for Emerald Ash Borer

Recent discoveries of Emerald Ash Borer in Peoria and Tazewell counties underscore the need for communities to be proactive against Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

University of Illinois Extension held an Emerald Ash Borer Community Preparedness Planning Workshop on October 2nd in East Peoria. The program was attended by local officials, municipalities, park districts, arborists, and others impacted by the recent Emerald Ash Borer findings.

Scott Schirmer with the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Environmental Programs gave an update on Emerald Ash Borer in Illinois, discussed community action planning, and covered other pest problems in Illinois. Reinee Hildebrandt, State Urban Forester for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, covered the urban forest, state grant programs, and how to obtain Tree City USA certification. Certified arborist Aaron Schulz from King Tree Specialists in Tremont discussed how to do a tree survey and how to treat for the insect.

According to participants who completed a meeting evaluation, all were satisfied with the event. Respondents felt that the program helped them learn more about EAB. 82% of respondents felt that the workshop taught them how to create a community action plan to manage trees. 76% said the workshop taught them how to take a community tree inventory in order to develop budget needs should large-scale ash tree removal become necessary.

When asked what was the most important thing learned today, EAB identification and treatment options, grant opportunities from DNR, and treatment costs were most sited. The participants did not feel that a follow-up session was needed on this topic.

Participants expressed interested in future University of Illinois Extension programming on other horticultural topics, including invasive plants, tree identification, native plants, and other pest problems.

For information on EAB in Illinois, including a link to community action planning, visit

The Illinois Urban and Community Forestry Program website at provides information on Tree City USA certification, grants, and more.