Forestry

The City of Golden Forestry Division is committed to safety and diversity for our urban canopy. Trees are an investment that we work to preserve not only for today, but for many generations to follow. A healthy urban canopy is not only beautiful, but provides many environmental, economic and social benefits. Unlike most assets, trees are unique in that they increase in value over time. We therefore recognize and prioritize the investment of proper tree care within our city. In line with our priorities, the City of Golden is a proud recipient of the Tree City USA designation for over 30 years!

The City Forester is responsible for administering Golden’s right-of-way, public park and cemetery tree maintenance program. Our services include tree plantings, tree pruning, tree inspections, hazardous tree removals/replacements, integrated pest management (IPM), storm damage, inventory and watering/fertilizing.

We encourage homeowners with city-owned planting strips to contact us for a street tree planting request. We will evaluate the site to ensure its suitability for a new tree as part of our annual planting program.

Tree planting demonstration with Shelton Elementary students.

Annual Tree Sale

Redbud Tree

Each spring, the Golden Parks and Recreation Department offers a diversity of tree species to Golden residents through our annual spring tree sale. Trees go on sale March 1 so keep alert as to ensure we do not sell out before you get a chance to purchase trees for your personal yard. We offer the trees at a great deal as a way to grow our urban canopy through individual residents!

Come spring, more information will be posted here including available species, price, and instructions for purchase and pick up.

For further questions, call the Forestry office at 303-384-8141 or Stacy Turner at 303-384-8191.

Emerald Ash Borer information

What is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is a devastating boring beetle that was first detected in Michigan (2002) and has since rapidly spread throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada.

Background of EAB in Colorado

Buy your firewood where you burn it.EAB has currently spread into 35 states, Colorado being the western most. It was first detected in Boulder (2013) due to the careless moving of firewood from a contaminated region. It has since spread north as far as Fort Collins and as far south as Arvada. For the past several years, Golden’s forestry department has been preparing for the inevitable arrival of EAB by using a variety management techniques to lessen the impact of the beetle on our urban canopy. The extent and spread of the beetle continues to be monitored closely by Colorado State Department of Agriculture, Colorado State Forest Service, CSU extension and surrounding Front Range communities. We additionally have recommendations for treatments and replacement strategies for homeowners with ash trees on their properties.

Ash Trees in Colorado

Ash trees are a huge part of the urban tree canopy throughout the Front Range. Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and white ash (Fraxinus americana) are estimated at 15%-20% of all trees in urban communities on the Front Range. They are a very hardy tree selection for harsh urban environments and well-tolerate our typical periods of drought. Ash species have also naturalized here and can sometimes be found growing in open spaces and natural areas.

Ash Inventory

The City of Golden ash population is estimated at around 15,000 trees, with the majority of those located on private property or natural areas and open space. The Golden Forestry Division maintains approximately 800 ash trees located in streetscapes, rights of ways and park areas. By estimating an overall value of each tree, factoring in age, health, contribution, location, aesthetics, etc., we’ve prioritized about 300 ash trees on which to conduct long-term preventative insecticide treatments.

Detection of the Borer

Golden has been actively monitoring for EAB activity in our community ever since the beetle was found in Boulder (2013). As of September 2020, we have yet to find the pest in Golden, though it has now been confirmed in Jefferson County in the City of Arvada. We are expecting to confirm its arrival to our area in the near future. We are responding now as though the borer has already arrived and recommend that our community does as well. Once a tree starts showing symptoms, it is usually too late to save, therefore proactive planning is paramount in successfully saving a tree.

Determining the presence of EAB is often difficult. Symptoms include sparse leaves or branches in the upper canopy, vertical splits in bark with S-shaped galleries beneath (Figure 1), smaller leaves at branch tips, D-shaped exit holes on branches (Figure 2), and epicormics shoots growing from the main trunk or near the center of the tree. Exit holes are common in the presence of other boring insects that also attack ash trees. These pests often leave a circle when exiting and are less severe in the ash’s overall health.

Emerald Ash Borer tracks

Figure 1. EAB larvae create distinct “S-shaped” galleries under the bark of ash trees.

Emerald Ash Borer exit holes

Figure 2. Adult borers are about ½ inch in length and exit the branches through “D- shaped” exit holes.

Forestry staff continues to monitor for EAB in Golden through branch sampling of ash that are showing signs of stress or decline. Golden residents are encouraged to contact the Forestry Division if a tree at a private residence is thought to be showing symptoms and they will come out to take a branch sample. For helpful hints on knowing the signs of EAB, watch the Colorado State Forestry Service video.

Treatment and Management Strategies

While there are effective insecticides available to protect ash trees from EAB, other management strategies exist for dealing with the pest, including monitoring trees for the presence of EAB, removing and replacing ash trees, and actively planting new trees nearby in an effort to get them established before the arrival of EAB. We encourage residents to seek professional advice on whether their ash is a good candidate for treatment and educate themselves on all available options and the costs associated with each to determine, which route is the best to take. Decisions about how to manage ash trees will have to be made by every landowner for every ash tree, and should take into account the overall health of each tree and its value to the owner.

Public Strategy

Systemic trunk injection connected to protect a city ash tree from EAB infestation. Golden has 760 ash trees in our park spaces, public areas, and along our streets. Our Forestry Division has chosen around 300 of these trees as good candidates for long-term chemical treatments. In anticipating future removal, this number has decreased over the past few years as we have prioritized planting replacement trees nearby. We will see this number decrease further as we continue to monitor the condition of ash trees currently receiving treatments, and continue to assess their value to the community. Depending on trunk diameter, we are using two different systemic chemical treatments:  a bark spray, and a trunk injection.

We have significantly increased the number of new plantings since 2014, especially focusing on areas where ash is the dominate species. Species diversity should be a big focus for our community, and all of the Front Range in general, for future tree planting plans. Diversity helps to prevent devastating impacts to our urban forest such as what we are now experiencing with the emerald ash borer. We try to follow a diversity rule of 20-10-5, which allows for no more than 20% of new plantings in a single family, no more than 10% from the same genus, and no more than 5% of the same species. We encourage property owners to also take this into consideration when planting new trees.

Our Forestry Division is committed to putting the community in a better, less devastating position for dealing with emerald ash borer once we confirm it in Golden. Maintaining a diverse and increasing urban tree canopy coverage to promote a healthy community is our ultimate goal.

Private Strategy- What Should You Do?

1. Determine if you have an ash tree.

2. Decide if your ash tree is worth saving. Protecting your ash tree is an ongoing commitment. Trees provide shade, soil stability, runoff control, clean air, wildlife diversity, and general beauty. We prioritize saving trees, but given the current state of the pest, you must view your ash as an investment. If you leave your ash tree untreated, it will die.

Ash Tree Identification

3. Hire a certified arborist to create a treatment plan. Find a credited company to treat your ash tree. They will know the proper methods as well as the ideal time for chemical application. This type of treatment is not homeowner friendly. Proper chemical requires a license to purchase and apply.
          OR

4. Remove the tree and replace it! Prioritize a licensed and insured tree company to remove your tree. It is safer and easier (thus more affordable) for an arborist to remove a tree prior to it being completely dead. Replace your tree with a new species. Tend to it and watch it grow and know that you have had an impact in diversifying Golden’s canopy.

Please visit www.colorado.gov for more information, including the current status of EAB in Colorado.

COG Mesa

 Golden was named after Thomas L. Golden,
a gold prospector who arrived in Jefferson County in 1858.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa