Ash Tree Inventories

Detection of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Vermont in early 2018 prompted VT UCF to further encourage towns to conduct public ash tree inventories. An ash tree infested with EAB will likely die within 1-5 years if not treated with insecticide and may become a hazard to public safety. Vermont towns should understand their public ash tree population, including where ash trees are: 

  • in the right-of-way in town centers (street trees) and in high-occupancy or high-use areas;
  • in parks, town greens, or other town-owned recreational areas;
  • in the right-of-way on rural roads;
  • near utility lines and should only be managed by utility-trained arborists;
  • in natural areas, i.e. town forests, that could impact public safety if diseased or dying, such as those along trails; and
  • on private land that impacts town properties or the town right-of-way, or are a priority for preservation.

An inventory will facilitate realistic management of EAB by assessing impact to publicly-managed places, prioritizing removals, identifying trees suitable for treatment, and budgeting for tree treatment or removal.

Ash tree silhouette

Inventory Considerations

Answer these questions to help you determine the scale, scope, and format. 

  • How will the data be used? What is the goal of collecting the data? 
  • Will you conduct a full or sample survey/inventory? 
  • Who will collect the data, and over what time period (municipal staff, volunteers, contracted professionals)?
  • What is the extent of the area(s) you will include in the inventory? 

Ash Tree Inventory Options

Depending on the size and nature (urban vs. suburban vs. rural) of your community, and your capacity to coordinate and implement, consider these ash tree inventory options below. Or watch this short video.

Level I: Rapid Roadside Ash Survey

A Rapid Roadside Ash Survey is designed to capture a tally of ash trees. Information is collected on paper forms and the survey can be conducted on foot or in partnership with a driver in a vehicle. This form of a survey will produce an estimate of the number and size of ash trees that the town will need to manage for EAB, but will not provide detailed information on individual trees. At a minimum, we recommend that you identify and document ash trees in high-use areas (town greens, schools, playgrounds, dense residential areas), along high-use roads (Class 1 roads, emergency access routes), and around emergency facilities. Print out the resources linked below to use in your roadside ash tally and survey.

Rapid Roadside Ash Survey Planning Worksheet 

Sample Data Collection Sheets

Level II: Rural Roadside Ash Inventory Tool

For people comfortable with applications on smartphones or tablets, choose this  digital and GPS-based inventory tool that ties each tree or grouping of trees to a specific location on a map. Using ArcGIS Field Maps and training from VT UCF staff, learn how to collect basic data on ash trees (size class, condition, location, and comments). The inventory can be conducted on foot, by bike, or in partnership with a driver in a vehicle.

Contact Joanne ( if you are interested in using or setting up a technical training session for the tool. We have a robust Rural Roadside Ash Inventory Tool Guide that we can share upon request.

Level III: Municipal Tree Inventory

If you would like to collect detailed information about individual trees of any species, consider conducting a complete municipal tree inventory. Since 2013, VT UCF has trained municipal staff and volunteers to conduct digital and GPS-based tree inventories using applications available for smartphones and tablets that are supported by our program staff and partners. This form of inventory will produce the most detailed information but will also require a significant investment of time for training, data collection, and data management. See our Municipal Tree Inventories webpage for more information.

Check out the video below to help you decide what type of inventory might be appropriate for your community or watch the video below to see data collection in action.