Watertown's Ash Trees At Risk

The City of Watertown is greatly concerned about the reduction of its urban tree canopy, due to the loss of ash trees that will succumb to Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) if left untreated.  In most communities, ash makes up 20% or more of the species mix. The number of ash trees lost in our community will have a major impact to the future outward appearance of our city.

The emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive insect of ash trees, was discovered and its presence confirmed in the City of Watertown on July 29, 2013.  EAB is a metallic-green beetle that measures approximately ½ inch long. The immature stage of the insect feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the upper canopy, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, and water sprouts (along the trunk and main branches).  For more information, read the EAB Homeowner's Guide.

In order to reduce that potential canopy loss, the City applied for and received a Wisconsin DNR urban forestry assistance grant.  One of the components of that grant is providing an incentive for property owners to treat ash trees on their property.  Research has shown that treating healthy ash trees with a trunk-injected product named Emamectin Benzoate is 99% effective in controlling EAB.  The treatment is effective for two years.  Trees will need to be retreated every two years to maintain control.  The City has retained Wachtel Tree Science, Inc. to administer and perform the treatments.

Here are some highlights regarding the treatment program:

  • Property owners will receive a $20.00 credit per tree treated for up to four trees maximum per property.  This is a one-time offer.
  • The minimum diameter (see attached application for how to measure diameter) is 10”.
  • Wachtel Tree Science, Inc. will contact each qualified applicant to secure a signed treatment contract.  They will also be responsible for billing the client.
  • Funding for this project allows up to 350 ash trees to be treated.  Once that number is reached, the program will be closed off.
  • The deadline for application submittal is June 3, 2016. 

You may print the application here: Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Program Applications or pick one up at the following locations:

City Hall
106 Jones Street
PO Box 477
Watertown, WI 53094

Street Department
811 S. First Street
Watertown, WI  53094

Park and Recreation Department
514 S. First Street
Watertown, WI  53094

For questions about the program contact Jeff Pirkel, 920-262-8088