This week (May 19-25, 2013) has been designated “Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week” in New York and other states in which this insidious pest is wreaking havoc with the ash tree population. Its purpose is to make all of us more aware of the emerald ash borer and the destruction it causes.
While knowing its life cycle and how to identify the pest in its various stages is nice, it is pretty difficult to apply that knowledge. The emerald ash borer lives most of its life inside the tree trunk, boring “D” shaped holes for adults to emerge and reproduce. Even the exit holes are hard to see since most of them are in the upper branches of the tree.
If you own ash trees, the most important thing to know is that the destruction of individual trees can be stopped. The most economical way is to have a preventive pesticide injected into your tree(s) or into the soil around the base of your tree(s). An infested tree can be treated, but it costs much more and the prognosis is not as good as it is for preventive applications.
The product I use is called Treeage, and it is only sold to state licensed applicators who have been trained by the manufacturer in the use of the product and application equipment. As a preventive, Treeage needs to be reapplied only every two years. As a treatment, it has to be applied every year.
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. One product is labeled for consumer use, but the consumer strength is not enough to be effective against this resilient bug.
One other important lesson this Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week is that transporting firewood into and out of an area is leading method for this pest to spread, and importing or exporting firewood is illegal in New York State.
Another important lesson is that, if you don’t treat your ash tree(s), they will almost certainly be attacked by the emerald ash borer, and it is much more expensive to have a diseased tree taken down and replaced than it is to have either a preventive or treatment applied.
A third lesson is that the emerald ash borer will attack weak or stressed trees first. If you keep your tree(s) well watered, fertilized and pruned, its chance for survival is better.