State officials are asking for the public's help in locating several ash trees sold by a major retailer in Maine this summer that may contain emerald ash borer.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the invasive tree-killing insect wipes out ash trees in areas where it's present. It's now found in more than half the country.
Acting state entomologist Allison Kanoti says at least seven ash trees were shipped to Maine from a New Jersey nursery located within an area under quarantine for the insect. "And at least three of them were sold prior to our knowledge of the shipment and so we're looking for those trees."
Kanoti says the potted ash trees cost around $120, were about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, 10 to 12 feet tall and labelled Fraxinus pennsylvanica.
"So, if they've purchased a tree that matches that description this summer, they could contact our office either through email or by phone and let us know and we'll try to figure out if they're the ones we're looking for," Kanoti says.
The emerald ash borer was discovered in northern Maine earlier this year. Kanoti says the state is trying to slow the insect's spread.