If you have ash trees on your property, it is imperative that you have them inspected NOW to see if they should be treated for emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive species has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in the United States and cost municipalities and property owners hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment and removal costs. You read that correctly, this pest is the most destructive invasive pest in US history!
Now that it is May, it’s time to start contacting your trusted tree care company about treating your trees. The unfortunate side of this pest is that it is a relentless critter that will eventually kill untreated ash trees in each community. We know this based on what other cities in the northeast have dealt with. The two choices for homeowners are: treat your ash tree, or make plans to have it removed. There is no evidence yet that resistant ash trees are commonly found.
Emerald ash borer beetles are easy to identify. The adult form will emerge from infested ash trees soon and have a distinct long, emerald green metallic body approximately half an inch long. When they emerge, they leave a very small D-shaped exit hole in the bark. After emerging from the tree, they lay eggs just under the bark and after a few weeks the small larvae will then tunnel around under the bark and kill critical tissue in the tree. These galleries disrupt the tree’s ability to ability to get water and nutrients and the tree typically dies within one to three years. Its only a matter of time before the population spreads and homeowners with untreated ash trees begin to see dead trees.
Arborists are rarely this dramatic about the need to treat for a pest. But this pest is very different. It is aggressive and its impact can be seen in St. Louis landscapes and along our streets. The good news is that properly timed injections are effective and provide strong protection against the feeding that damages the tree.
Symptoms Of EAB
Signs and symptoms of an EAB infestation include:
- Canopy dieback
- Increased woodpecker activity
- S-shaped larval galleries
- Splitting bark
- D-shaped exit holes
- Visible adults and larvae
- Epicormic shoots
Consult an ISA Certified Arborist for EAB Treatment
If you have ash trees on your property, contact an ISA Certified Arborist immediately to treat and help prevent its spread. Ash trees in our region are heavily infested with EAB, and this pest moves quickly from tree to tree. Emerald ash borer isn’t picky when it comes to infecting your ashes, healthy or stressed.
Preventive treatments should always be applied by a Certified Arborist. While there are “off the shelf” treatments available to homeowners, they are only mildly effective. Licensed pesticide applicators and ISA certified arborists can safely apply effective treatments. Your options include injections, or removal of the tree. Your arborist will perform an assessment of the affected tree and give you treatment options. Optimal timing for treating for EAB is from mid-April until the end of June. This helps ensure that the treatment is in the leaves by the time adults emerge to feed. Treatments from July to September are still effective, but any larvae that were present in the tree will be causing damage until the tree is treated.
Remember that the treatment of EAB is a long-term commitment. Preventative treatment will be needed every two years for the rest of the tree’s life. If removal is the preferred option for you, Hansen’s can remove it and recommend replacement options.