September 21, 2012

Quarantine Expanded to Protect Missouri's Trees from Invasive Emerald Ash Borer

Following this summer's findings of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer in Platte, Madison and Reynolds counties, Missouri's quarantine regulating the movement of many ash wood products has been expanded. The quarantine, an effort to reduce the spread of the one-half inch long emerald green-colored beetle, now includes the counties in which the borer has been found as well as several adjacent counties.

Carter, Iron, Madison, Reynolds and Shannon counties in southeast Missouri and Clay and Platte counties near Kansas City are now included in the state quarantine, and Missouri's Wayne County has been quarantined as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer since the insect was first identified within the state in 2008.

The quarantine limits the movement of certain wood products from these counties most likely to transport the borer. Affected products, which may not be moved without first entering into a compliance agreement through USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, include any part of an ash tree, from logs and green lumber, to compost, bark and chips, as well as ash nursery stock and all hardwood firewood. USDA-APHIS-PPQ also has quarantined the eight Missouri counties included in the state's quarantine.

Detailed information on movement of ash products under a compliance agreement is available online at Much of the pests' spread is attributed to humans transporting it under the bark of firewood, logs and tree debris. As such, Missouri's quarantines prohibit both interstate and intrastate movement of those products.

The Missouri departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources work with federal staff from USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as researchers at the University of Missouri, to monitor Missouri's forests and urban areas for the insect. Staff also inspect incoming shipments of nursery stock, which may harbor the borers and other invasive pests.

Those agencies also work together to raise awareness of the impact the Emerald Ash Borer could have on our state's trees, especially in urban and suburban areas where 30 percent or more of the trees may be ash. Missouri's educational "Don't Move Firewood!" message encouraging individuals to buy or gather firewood where they plan to burn it can be found everywhere from trade shows to radio public service announcements to highway billboards as part of a statewide effort to slow the insect's spread.

The Emerald Ash Borer quarantine is one of several Missouri has in place to protect the state's trees from invasive forest pests. Foresters, arborists, landscape and nursery workers and landowners should also be aware of a quarantine affecting walnut wood products from other states, including logs, as a preventative measure to prevent an infestation of Thousand Cankers Disease of Black Walnut. The state is also working to establish a quarantine to protect pine trees from the invasive Pine Shoot Beetle, which was identified in Macon, Marion and Lewis counties earlier this year.

For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, plant and pest quarantines and the Missouri Department of Agriculture's other programs, visit