New Action Implemented by Board to Safeguard Residents from EAB Impact
Note this is a Repeat of Content on the News & Information Page
New Rule for Riverwoods Community Unit Owners Regarding Trees in Their Front or Side Lawn Areas
Whereas the invasion of the notoriously destructive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is continuing its inevitable path through the Riverwoods Community and is becoming more and more evident as time passes,
Whereas the Riverwoods Community and its individual Owners have been continuously implementing an EAB Plan conceived in 2014 and initially funded in 2015; significant effort and funds have been expended to remove dead or dying potentially hazardous trees on Common Property in order to maintain the woodland aesthetics of our community,
Whereas the Community plans to continue implementation of its EAB Plan for the Common Property for as long as it takes in order to assure the long-term maintenance or renewal of the lovely and healthy woodland aesthetic of the community,
Whereas while it had been anticipated that Unit Owners on their own initiative would remove & replace dead or dying trees on their private property and especially those trees which are visible from the Street by other residents, this has not been happening in some cases,
Therefore in order to maintain and protect the lovely aesthetics of our neighborhood from the potential blight of dead or dying trees in the front or side yards of any Owner’s private property, the Board of Directors of the Riverwoods Homeowners Association has decided to implement a new rule, effective on August 1, 2019 and as described below:
Private Property Tree Removal Rule
If a tree of any species on Private Property is certified by an HOA arborist to be dead or irreversibly dying, the HOA will request that the Unit Owner remove the tree(s) within 60 days (Removal means that tree will be removed from the property, have the stump ground down or otherwise removed, and the lawn repaired and seeded). The planting of replacement trees is of course encouraged.
If such a tree(s) has been identified by the HOA and a 60 day removal notice (Request for Tree Removal) has been provided to the Unit Owner to remove said tree(s) and the Unit Owner has not still acted upon it within the 60 days, the HOA will itself act and remove such a tree(s) in the manner described and will charge the Unit Owner for the cost of such removal.
Remember there is a lot of information on the HOA website about the Emerald Ash Borer and its potential impact; parts of it have been there since 2014.
EAB Infestation Now Detected in All 67 PA Counties
The threat of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation of the Ash trees in Riverwoods is now more imminent. It was recently reported that EAB infected trees have been found on Stoney Hill Road about 4 miles west of New Hope.
Read the details in the 3 page letter in the panel on the right. This letter was recently mailed to all residents.
Millions of Ash Trees Have Been Killed by The Emerald Ash Borer & It's Coming to Riverwoods!
Presentation on the Emerald Ash Borer Threat as made at the Annual Meeting is now available below:
At the June 10, 2014 Annual meeting a review of the EAB threat to Riverwoods was presented to the attendees, a copy is provided in the panel to the right Included is newly available information regarding the potential financial impact to the individual property owners and to the Community as a whole.
There is significant detail provided in the presentation material to illustrate the logic and rationale that has been applied to evaluating the evolving situation.
While no decisions have yet been taken by the Board, the presentation outlined the components of a plan and their estimated costs. A cost summary is below:
Summary of Removal & Replacement Costs
(Based on 50% Removal Rate of Wooded Area trees)
Common Area (30)
Private Property (85)
1 - 3 Year Removals (Red Dot) (25)
Hazard Trees (260)
Since doing nothing is not an option, the primary focus of a plan should be on how to mitigate and manage the process & its cost over the many years required.
Starting early and spreading the costs over longer periods is the best way to minimize the financial impact; the below was presented for information purposes:
Annual Payment Required to Pay for Removal & Replacement of Common Area Trees
Based on Common Area Cost Estimate of $323,250 & 50% Removal Rate of Wooded Area Trees
Number of Years
Approx. Annual Amount
Preventive treatment alternatives are available; 3 examples with approximate costs for single property owners are included. In summary the cost is about $100 per year per year of effective treatment; the duration of treatment (i.e, until the threat is gone) is quite uncertain.
A review of the "8 page" document & its References (links) which is available several panels below provides access to a library of EAB material for your consideration.
The infestation continues to spread and is now only a short distance from New Hope, PA
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small insect accidentally imported from Asia to the US via wood crates in 2002. Its destructive Ash tree infestation and killing wave began in Michigan, spread through the Midwest and now is advancing within Pennsylvania, New York & other northeastern states. The resulting economic devastation is calculated in the tens of millions of dollars. The wave appears unstoppable.
This is not something we can just ignore and hope that it will go away; all of the agricultural & environmentally responsible officials seem to agree that the threat is real, is nearby now and will potentially kill all of the Ash trees that become infected in the area (Bucks & Montgomery Counties). While the “die-back” (loss of leaves) provides an early clue to the progress of the infestation it may take 2-3 years after infestation to kill the tree.
The dead Ash tree becomes brittle and prone to break under heavy wind or rain; dead ash trees therefore have the real potential to become hazardous if they are near where people might frequent of if they are close enough to a home.
To be clear, there is no reason to panic or get unduly excited, reading the material here will help you see that. As mentioned, an infected Ash tree may take 2-3 years to die after infestation, at which time depending upon its location it may represent a hazard and require removal. A decision to use a preventive insecticide treatment to protect trees considered valuable requires more immediate action; see the references for guidance.
Please be aware that the Board has no expertise or resources to help you with your private property Ash tree decisions; those decisions represent cost/benefit evaluations to you that only you can fully address. If you need help, there are a number of qualified "Arborists" in the area.
Communications from the Board to Homeowners
There have been 2 recent communications from the Board on the EAB topic:
1. A 1 page letter (a copy is in the upper panel to the right) was printed and mailed via the USPS to all residents to give them general notice of the issue and urge them to visit this website to read the more complete color 8 page document that was prepared to better inform them about all of the details of the topic.
2. An 8 page document referred to above which was emailed to those residents who have subscribed to the "Website Update Service". A copy is posted in the lower panel to the right.
The PA state agency leading the effort against this pest is the Forestry Department of the Department of Conservation & Resources (DCNR); their representatives and other industry experts presented detailed information at two recent meetings attended by two Riverwoods Association Board Members. They also provided information on many additional valuable resources to better understand the dynamics of the problem and the possible options for homeowners to address the problem. Note that no governmental agency will try to “fix” or otherwise deal with this problem on private property like Riverwoods or any other development.. Some municipalities, including New Hope Borough, have made plans and/or have taken action to deal with the Ash trees on their municipal properties (parks, downtown streets, libraries, municipal buildings, etc.).
In response to one of our recent inquiring emails, a senior DCNR Forestry Manager replied, “What I can tell you is, if you want to treat your ash trees you better start in the spring. The systemic insecticide treatments are meant to act as a prevention method and the infestation will build up rapidly in the area over the next 3-5 years. Trust me, they are already there and they are building – doubling every year. Then you will see massive ash tree mortality and there is nothing else you can do then except cut down the hazard trees and just let the infestation go.”
You Will Need to Make the Decisions about the Ash Trees on Your Property: Preventive Insecticide Treatment, Tree Removal/Replacement or Do Nothing At This Time
The primary reason for our efforts to inform you about this issue is that in some way this insect will most likely affect your property and/or the Riverwoods Common property and will likely cost you some money. As you can see in the illustration below, prevention by chemical treatment of your Ash trees is an option but even if you decide to do nothing about the Ash trees on your property, infected Ash trees killed by EAB become brittle and are more easily felled by wind & snow. If they are big enough and close enough that they can fall onto your home or even onto your property they are obviously a potential “Hazard” tree and a concern to be considered. And this doesn’t address the aesthetic impact of the dead trees or the void created. Preemptive removal and replacement of Ash trees with other species is another option.
To be clear, it appears that there will be an almost inevitable economic, environmental and aesthetic impact on the Riverwoods Community, whether it is on your private property, on the Common Area or both; there are decisions & choices to be made both by you and by the Association. Our objective with this material is to help assure that they are well informed ones.
Video to Help Identify an Ash Tree, the Emerald Ash Borer Insect and the Signs of Infestation
The YouTube video on the right was created by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. The ash trees in the state were ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer. The video has several parts; they provide help to identify an Ash tree, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and signs of EAB infestation.
If you see signs of EAB infestation please call the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) Forestry Department at 866-253-7189