The emerald ash borer (EAB) was first discovered in the U.S. in the summer of 2002 in southeast Michigan. The EAB has since killed tens of millions of trees in the United States and so far has established itself in 26 states.
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive wood-boring beetle: the adult beetle is ⅜” – ½” long, has a flattened back and dark metallic green wings. The Asian beetle infests and kills native North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.), including green, white, black and blue ash.
From late May though early August, the beetle deposits its tiny eggs along the lower portions of the main branches and the trunk of the ash, as well as inside any cracks or crevices. Upon hatching, the emerald ash borer larvae damage the host tree by tunneling S-shaped galleries into the underside of the bark and the outer sapwood. This destroys the tree’s tissues that are responsible for carrying water and nutrients between the leaves and roots. The adult beetle also harms trees when it bores out of the wood by creating D-shaped exit holes approximately ⅛” in diameter.
When a tree is severely infested with emerald ash borer, treatment may be ineffective. A tree may be too severely compromised to save. That’s why we highly recommend utilizing preventative methods if you live in an at-risk area. SavATree can provide annual treatments to protect your beautiful ash trees against this highly destructive pest.
Tree damage from EAB progresses swiftly: without treatment, the tree usually dies within two to four years of initial infestation. Given the EAB’s aggression, many states have instituted quarantines of all EAB infestation areas in efforts to slow its spread.
Prevention. If you live in an at-risk area, we highly recommend utilizing preventative methods. SavATree can provide annual inoculation treatments to protect your ash trees against this highly destructive pest.
Treatment. The sooner EAB infestation is detected and treated, the greater your chances to save your trees and control EAB’s spread. Additionally, since the EAB beetle can travel from one tree to another, quick treatment of infested ashes can prevent its spread to healthy ash trees nearby.
Take-down. When a tree has advanced EAB infestation, the structural integrity of the tree is often too compromised to save — the wood cracks, the branches fail, and the base and roots of the tree become unsound. In such cases, the removal of the ash tree is the best option for the protection of nearby trees, plants, and structures, as well as humans and pets.
Though the decision to take down a tree is never an easy one for a property owner, waiting too long after detection of EAB infestation can significantly narrow the options for safe removal of the ash tree. Advanced decay of the tree may make climbing and rigging the tree too dangerous for the arborist to undertake. At that point, the only safe option for removal may be felling the tree, which, depending on the tree’s location on the property, may threaten other valuable trees and structures in its proximity.
The best defense is a good offense. Call in your tree care professional to determine the presence and severity of an EAB infestation in your ash trees. Then you can work together to devise a comprehensive, reasonable, and multi-phased management plan that makes the most sense for you: which healthy trees can be treated to prevent EAB attack, which favorite trees with early infestation can be treated to save or extend their life, and which dead or decayed trees should be marked for removal. On this last point, creating an EAB management plan makes particular financial sense for owners with a large number of ashes on their property. Tree removal is expensive; a smart, multi-phase strategy can allow any necessary take-downs to occur over a number of years – a boon for your budgeting.
For more information on emerald ash borer inoculation treatment and control options, contact us today for a complimentary consultation from our fully trained and certified arborists. Don’t let an emerald ash borer infestation devastate your landscape. Save your trees and click here to find the office nearest you.
SMA Position Paper
Emerald Ash Borer
A Perspective On Planning And Management
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Andra S., Horticulturalist
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April and Jim B.
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