Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a serious threat and is now entrenched throughout Central Ohio. The adult emerald ash beetles are half-inch long with metallic green wings and feed on ash foliage causing little damage to the tree. The larvae (the immature stage of the ash beetle) cause much greater damage. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. This can cause the death of the tree within a few years of infestation.
The good news is EAB only attacks ash trees. The bad news is ash trees are found extensively in residential and commercial landscapes as well as in natural woodlands. My neighborhood is currently in the process of removing over 300 ash trees. Although I am sad to see the trees go, I know it is better to remove them now before they become a danger to the community.
Luckily there are treatments available to help prevent EAB infestation. First, consider the overall health of your tree and its importance in your landscape. Specimen trees, trees that provide significant shade for outdoor areas, and healthy vigorous trees are ideal for preventative treatments.
My preferred treatment to battling this borer is a trunk injection with Emamectin Benzoate (Tree-Age), which works against the EAB larvae at an early infestation period and needs to be done every 2 years. I have also used Imidicloprid as soil drenches, but I have seen some death on larger trees with this method and this treatment needs to be done every year. Once treatments have begun, they must be continued to maintain effectiveness. There is minimal risk involved in both treatment methods. These two methods do not incorporate spraying chemicals. The chemicals are injected directly into the tree or into the soil around the tree, limiting the exposure to animals and people.
If you decide not to treat your ash trees and have dying or dead trees in your yard be sure to contact a certified arborist to remove the trees before they becomes a hazard. It is a lot safer and less expensive to remove an ash tree before it is completely dead. Once ash trees are dead they become very brittle and require numerous additional safety precautions to remove. A certified arborist can also help recommend a replacement tree that is less susceptible to disease.