Mainers who purchased ash trees from Lowe’s stores over the summer have come forward after state officials said they might be infested with a destructive invasive beetle.
So far, 30 of the 36 trees have been accounted for, and inspections haven’t uncovered any sign of the emerald ash borer, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
The trees were shipped to eight Lowe’s stores in Maine over the summer from a Connecticut nursery that obtained them from Maryland, where the emerald ash borer is widespread.
That alarmed state officials, who worried the trees could further infestations of the beetle into other parts of the state. In mid-November, emerald ash borer infestations were confirmed in seven more towns across the state: Gorham, Newfield, Ogunquit, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh, South Berwick and Van Buren.
The emerald ash borer beetle is considered one of the most serious invasive species in Maine, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. It is a serious threat to all three species of native ash trees in the state — green, white and brown.
“Every tree owner with whom we spoke recognized the risks of keeping the recently purchased ash trees,” said Regina Smith, entomology technician with the Maine Forest Service.
Still, state officials continue to search for the remaining six trees, alive or dead. Any infested trees will be destroyed, while healthy trees will need to be inspected every year until a emerald ash borer infestation is confirmed in the area.
Anyone with information about those trees’ whereabouts can call the department at 207-287-7545 or email email@example.com.