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How Vulnerable Are Your Ash Trees?

As spring approaches, so does the threat of emerald ash borer. As the weather warms, the metallic green adult borers will emerge from “D” shaped holes in infested ash trees and spend only a couple of weeks outside the tree. There, they will mate, the females will lay eggs and die. But, the next generation will begin its destruction of our area’s beautiful ash trees.

The answer to the title question is, I don’t know how vulnerable your ash tree is. Nobody knows. If one or more borers decide your tree is the one in which they want their children to live, your tree is doomed, unless you have taken preventive steps.

If you haven’t taken preventive steps and your ash tree continues to be healthy, say a prayer of thanksgiving and call for a preventive treatment. Your luck could run out this season.

When you call, our professionals will inspect your tree to be sure that it’s healthy and that the EAB has not set up housekeeping. If not, they will apply a preventive application. If EAB is present, they will determine if treatment can save the tree and make appropriate recommendations.

It’s 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 we 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.

All preventives and treatments for emerald ash borer have to be applied systemically, either as a soil drench or trunk injection. As a result, EAB prevention or treatment should not be a do-it-yourself project. 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.

Even though EAB treatments are expensive, several decades of preventive treatments cost less than removing and replacing most ash trees. In addition to preventive treatment, you can discourage the EAB by making sure your tree is healthy. This means having it pruned as needed to remove dead, dying, rubbing and broken branches. Good health practices also include mulching and/or composting to add organic matter to the soil and fertilizing if needed.

EAB in our area is not a death sentence for every ash tree. Rather, it is a wake up call to tend to this valuable tree’s health needs on a regular basis.

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