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New Treatment Could Save Omaha's Ash Trees

Posted: 7:23 PM, Oct 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-09 16:57:29-04

Fall has come, but it’s not too late to treat your trees against the emerald ash borer.  According to local arborist Shawn McKee of Holland and McKee, a new chemical treatment has shown 100% success in killing the pest.  He said that it’s important to treat trees as soon as possible.

"This is an extinction event.  When this EAB rolls through, as it's done out east, it's wiped out every ash tree that has not been treated,” said McKee.

Bill Orr lives in the regency park neighborhood.  He’s sad to see all the emerald ash borer ribbons on trees in yards and right of ways.

“In this community, it’s really gonna make a difference in the character of the community if all those trees have to go,” said Orr.

McKee said this new method will save 100% of regency’s ash trees.

“It’s a one of a kind deal.  I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anything this effective,” said McKee.

McKee uses a product called TREE-äge® (pronounced like “triage) made by Arborjet.  The application process is quick and efficient.  They start by drilling holes around the tree.  Then, they add and hammer in plugs flush with the tree bark.  The plugs keep chemical from coming back out or new bugs from getting in.  A small hole allows for the injection of the TREE-äge® solution.

“It’s just more efficient than spraying.  It ensures that 100% of the solution you’re using goes into the tree,” said Aidan McKee, Shawn’s son and an employee of the arborist company.

The system has been used in Milwaukee and Illinois for several years now.  McKee says those places have seen 100% success.

“Any tree that they’ve treated with this chemical and have followed through, they haven’t lost it.  It’s still a good tree,” said McKee.

Trees marked with a blue “X” are slated for removal by the city, but McKee says those trees can still be saved if residents or a homeowners association want to hire an arborist.

“We looked at this tree and we decided that some of these are viable trees, and we are treating them with TREE-äge® right now,” said McKee.

McKee hangs a tag on the trees they have treated and marks them with an orange or yellow ribbon to let the city and the residents know that tree is safe.

McKee and Holland are contracted with the city of Omaha to treat 2500 trees this coming spring.  If you have a tree slated for removal, you can find out how to save it by contacting a local arborist, such as Holland and McKee.