As plants awaken to begin life anew this spring, many trees in one genus will awake with much of their insides eaten away. As the weather warms up, the culprit that did this will eat its way out of the trees and fly away to satisfy another appetite – mating – so the carnage can start all over again.
The genus is Fraxinus – ash – and the devourer is the dreaded emerald ash borer. The larvae have spent almost a year, inside ash trees, eating away. In spring, the tiny, green adults will eat their way out by making little “D” shaped holes. The adults will escape almost unnoticed because they often emerge high up in the tree, and they are very small insects. But, in this case, size doesn’t matter. They may be small, but they are hungry.
Once just uttering the name, emerald ash borer, was a death sentence for a magnificent tree. I personally have seen the horrible damage the emerald ash borer has done to ash trees in Michigan, where it was first identified. Today, scientists have given us products that can prevent infestation and combat this pest after it has taken up residence.
It is more economical to prevent emerald ash borer than it is to treat it after it has established itself in your ash tree. As a preventive, the product and application method I use needs to be reapplied only every two years. As a treatment, it has to be applied every year. The product is called Treeage, and is only sold to state licensed applicators who have been trained by the manufacturer in the use of its product and application equipment.
There are several other products labeled for prevention and treatment of emerald ash borer. I have tried all of them, and Treeage is the only one that I found to be effective. My conclusions were echoed by a research scientist with the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources and other scientists.
All preventives and treatments for emerald ash borer have to be applied systemically, either as a soil drench or trunk injection. So, if someone offers to spray your trees for emerald ash borer, don’t. You will be wasting your money.
Only one of the labeled products is available to consumers, but the consumer strength of this product is not sufficient to prevent or kill this insect. So, don’t even think about trying to control the emerald ash borer on your own. It will be a waste of money.
Speaking of money, protecting ash trees against emerald ash borer is not an inexpensive process. For this reason, I examine each tree to be sure it is healthy before recommending application of preventive or treatment. If the tree is unhealthy, it may be better to remove it and replace it. However, you need to think about this course of action carefully because several decades of preventive treatments cost less than removing and replacing most ash trees.