Even before our pandemic, ash trees were suffering from their own pandemic. An invasive insect, the emerald ash borer (EAB), had arrived on our shores. It was hidden in packing material but soon made its presence known by decimating ash trees throughout Michigan.
Soon the emerald ash borer had spread to neighboring states. When it made its debut in our area of New York, we were ready. Over the years, we’ve treated thousands of trees. But the owners of thousands more chose not to treat. Most of their trees are firewood today, because that’s the only legal use for infested ash wood. What a fate for the majestic trees that helped make baseball America’s pastime. (Wood bats were traditionally made of ash.)
Your ash trees can survive. Trees not yet infested need to be treated every other year. Infested trees need a professional inspection to determine if they can be saved. If one third to one half of the canopy is still alive, the prognosis is fairly good if the tree is treated annually.
Now is the time to schedule an inspection and treatment for your ash tree(s). One of our Plant Health Care (PHC) professionals will visit your home, conduct an inspection to determine if EAB is present, and if it is, how much damage has been done. From there, they’ll make recommendations.
We use the same material as a preventive and a treatment. It has to be injected into the tree trunk annually as a treatment, every two years as a preventive. At the strength required to be most effective against this prolific pest, the material is only available to licensed professional applicators. We have tried all the products labeled for EAB control but found only the material we use provides sufficient protection.
One reason EAB is so hard to control is that it spends most of its life inside the tree. Soon it will be time for the adults to emerge and mate. The photo shows how small they are. The adults bore “D” shaped holes from which they emerge. The small holes are hard to see from the ground because the EAB lays its eggs at the top of the tree and works its way down in subsequent generations.
After mating, the males die. The females bore indentations in the bark, deposit an egg in each indentation and then die. Each female can deposit 60 to 100 eggs. When the eggs hatch in about a week, the new larvae begin boring into the tree, disturbing the tree’s vascular system that’s so vital to its life. Xylem transports water and nutrients from the roots to the crown where photosynthesis takes place. Phloem distributes the food made by photosynthesis throughout the tree.
Preventive treatments can be made for a good, long time before equaling the amount that it costs to remove a dead ash tree and replace it. That’s why I urge you to schedule an inspection and control.