Mar 11, 2021 - News

U of M researchers find potential cure for emerald ash borer beetle

a man cuts down a tree

Minneapolis and St. Paul have cut down thousands of ash trees as part of their disease prevention plans. Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

University of Minnesota researchers are a step closer to identifying a potential cure for the metro's biggest tree killer.

What's new: A study from the U's Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center identified fungi that could curb the spread of the emerald ash borer beetle, preventing the death of vulnerable ash trees.

  • Lead author Ben Held said in a statement that the findings "opened up new possibilities for managing one of our state’s most devastating tree pests."

Why it matters: The invasive species has devastated the Twin Cities since it was first discovered here in 2009 — some estimates project up to 1 in 5 trees are at risk. Right now, the go-to recourse is tree removal.

  • Noticed a trunk in your neighborhood with a green X or circle? It's set to be cut down as part of the city's efforts to control spread. In some cases, trees are being cut down before they can get sick.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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