HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – An invasive insect, the Emerald Ash Borer, is spreading through the Evansville-area at an alarming rate. This means not only are areas losing trees, but homes are losing memories. The Daming family in Rockport has taken action to prevent the insect from killing their large ash tree.

Living near his two sons, Steve Daming has lived on his family’s land since the early 1950s. In 2016, the Daming family used a chemical treatment to save their tree from the invasive insect, and now another round of treatment.

“It’s using a product called emamectin benzoate that is injected directly into the tree,” explains Anthony Moffat of Trugreen. “So essentially like a tree IV, or an injection into it. That is then taken up into the tree and usually it is good for 2-3 years in protecting that tree against emerald ash borer.”

Once an infestation begins, Moffat says a tree can decline within 2 years. The Daming’s tree is believed to be around 200 years old, and could be one of the largest in the state with a circumference of just under 20 feet.

“That tree was big when I was 6 years old,” says Daming. The tree also holds many memories for Daming and his grandchildren.

“Oh, can you put a value on it? On any tree, really,” says Daming.

“As the Emerald Ash Borer continues to move further south, other residents may have only memories to rely on. According to Moffat, western Kentucky needs to act now.

“I would expect in the next 2 years, we’re going to start seeing those in Henderson and Owensboro and Madisonville,” says Moffat. “Certainly, if you live in those areas you want to assess if you have an ash and what you want to do with it, because it’s going to be decision time for you.”

The City of Evansville offers an Adopt an Ash program, which is aimed to help fund treatment costs for ash trees in the area. You can learn more about the program here.