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State Forester: Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed In South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Agriculture

State agriculture officials have confirmed the first infestation of the emerald ash borer in South Dakota. They say the affected tree is in northern Sioux Falls.

South Dakota State Forester Greg Josten  says it's an invasive species that native ash trees have no defense against. He says an emergency quarantine area begins immediately for all of Minnehaha County, northern Lincoln County, and northeastern Turner County.

"That quarantine basically means that no ash wood, either in tree form or brush material from trees that have been cut down can be moved from the quarantine area without being treated. And also, we're encouraging people not to cut any ash trees within the quarantine area during this time -- because if the tree happens to be infected with emerald ash borer, you could spread the infestation to uninfested areas."

Josten says officials know the emerald ash borer has been in the tree for a few years. He says an investigation to determine exact details is underway.


"What we do is we look at the top of the tree, what we call the canopy, where all the leaves are. And, we estimate if more than 30 percent of that canopy is declined, in other words, the canopy is dying, if more than 30 percent is dying, we pretty much assume that tree is not going to recover from emerald ash borer. If it's less than that, then we have a chance of saving the tree. It might lose some branches, but we might be able to save the tree."

Josten reminds all South Dakotans to buy local firewood that's cut nearby to limit the spread of pests like the emerald ash borer.

He says information sessions will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Game, Fish, and Parks Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls.