As spring warmth prompts emerald ash borer eggs to hatch into larvae, the West Windsor Township will be active in treating those ash trees on public land that are vulnerable to EAB attack and have been identified as having the best chance of maturing into strong, healthy and safe canopy trees.

The treatment involves injecting an insecticide below the surface of the soil around the tree’s roots. When assimilated by the tree, this “soil drench” will kill the larvae under the bark where they could otherwise consume the tree’s vital conductive tissue.

There are—or were—some 1,800 ash trees on the township’s street trees and parks. Only about 400 are to be treated annually for the next six or seven years—the period during which the EAB attack is expected to endure.

The remaining 1,400 are expected eventually to succumb. As they die, they will be systematically taken down and chipped or de-barked to destroy the incumbent eggs and larvae.

Residents will wonder what is to happen if the ash tree on the street in front of their home is one of those to be taken down. A flier will be placed in their mailbox, informing the residents of the symptoms of EAB attack that prompted the tree’s removal and that it will eventually be replaced—but not with another ash tree.

A variety of attractive alternative trees will include yellowwood, golden rain tree, maackia, black gum, sargeant cherry and tree lilac. For additional information, please consult the township’s website or call township landscape architect Dan Dobromilsky at (609) 799-2400.

—Ronald Slinn; Slinn is the chairman of the West Windsor Shade Tree Commission