Emerald ash borers are extremely deadly to ash trees and slowly kill them over the course of an infestation. They're hard to spot, so unfortunately they are often not detected until they have already caused significant damage to the tree. Thankfully, emerald ash borers can easily be prevented from infesting your ash trees if you apply systemic pesticides to them — this makes your tree uninhabitable for them and stops their spread. If you have emerald ash borers in your area, here's what you should know about them.
What Are the Signs of an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation?
Unfortunately, emerald ash borer infestations are often difficult to spot. One of the primary signs of an infestation are tiny D-shaped holes in the tree caused by larva emerging. As damage due to the infestation progresses, you may notice the leaves on the crown of the tree thinning. Emerald ash borer larvae tunnel through the tree's cambium, which is the tree's vascular system — it's the part of the tree where nutrients circulate. As the cambium is slowly destroyed, the tree can no longer circulate nutrients, the crown begins to thin and the tree starts to die.
What Should You Do if You Have Ash Trees on Your Property in Order to Prevent Infestation?
If you have ash trees on your property, you should monitor for any reports of a nearby emerald ash borer infestation. Many state agencies provide outbreak maps that allow you to see where emerald ash borers have been reported.
Additionally, you need to regularly inspect the ash trees on your property for signs of infestation. One of the primary challenges of preventing the spread of emerald ash borers is that it can take years for the signs of infestation to be visible — during this time, adult beetles are laying eggs in nearby trees and spreading the infestation.
Emerald ash borers are typically introduced by people purchasing infested ash firewood, which may not have any visible signs of infestation. This allows emerald ash borers to begin spreading in a region where no ash trees are currently infested — it's important to check your trees for signs of infestation to avoid them succumbing to an infestation introduced from firewood purchased by a nearby neighbor.
If there's a nearby infestation or you notice the signs of emerald ash borers on your trees, it's time to begin treating them to prevent infestation.
How Are Emerald Ash Borers Prevented?
Emerald ash borer prevention involves applying systemic pesticides to the tree — they can either be applied to its root system or injected into the trunk of the tree. Systemic pesticides naturally circulate throughout the entire tree, including the leaves and branches. This makes the entire tree toxic to emerald ash borers. It's best to apply systemic pesticides in the spring in order to kill the larvae as soon as they hatch in the summer in order to prevent them from maturing, which allows them to spread the infestation to nearby trees.
While products exist for emerald ash borer prevention that homeowners can use, it's best to hire a professional arborist to treat your trees. Professionals have access to a broader range of pesticides and own special equipment that allows them to inject the pesticides deep into the soil or into the tree's trunk, which prevents pesticides from leaching out of the soil. This prevents excess pesticides from accidentally running off into nearby bodies of water, which can harm the environment. Injecting pesticides into the soil or into the tree's trunk also speeds the rate at which the pesticides circulate throughout the tree, often making this method of application more effective.
Trees that already contain emerald ash borers can often be saved by pesticide application. Early treatment will improve the likelihood of saving your tree — once the cambium has been badly damaged, the tree won't be able to circulate nutrients through its trunk and will become unable to heal.
To sum it up, regularly inspect the ash trees on your property for the signs of an emerald ash borer infestation and check for any reports of infestations nearby. If emerald ash borers are on your property or nearby, call a professional arborist for emerald ash borer prevention and treatment — you'll protect the health of your trees and prevent them from succumbing to emerald ash borers.
I have always been one of those people who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty, which is why I started trimming my own trees. However, after doing it by myself for a few years, I realized that my yard was starting to look a little DIY, which wasn't the look that I was going for. To make things right, I decided to invest in a professional tree service who could come out and fix up my yard. They were amazing to work with, and they even came with all of their own equipment. This blog is all about the benefits of professional tree care, versus doing things on your own.