Ash trees are known for their straight trunks, diamond-patterned bark, and compound leaves. They can be quite beautiful, and they often make nice shade trees once they are established. However, if you have an ash tree on your property, it's important that you know about one of the biggest threats to your tree's health: the emerald ash borer. Here's a closer look.
What is the emerald ash borer?
The emerald ash borer is a species of beetle that feeds on and lives on ash trees. It has an elongated body, and it's named for its emerald green color. The beetle is most commonly found on the eastern coast of the US and Canada, though it can be found as far west as Colorado and does sometimes pose a threat in Texas, too. The more ash trees there are in the area, the more emerald ash borers tend to appear there.
How does the emerald ash borer affect an ash tree?
The adult beetles feed on ash leaves. They then burrow into the ash tree's bark, where they deposit their eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae, which break down the wood within the trunk or branches. A heavy infestation of emerald ash borers can quickly cause a tree to decline. The leaves may turn yellow and tumble to the ground, and entire branches may die off as the larvae impede the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients through its trunk.
What should you do if you think your tree is infested with emerald ash borers?
If you notice green beetles on your ash tree or see other symptoms of decline that you think might be attributed to these pests, you need to act quickly. If the infestation is caught early, an arborist may be able to inject your tree with insecticides near its base. These insecticides will be transported up the tree's trunk and will kill the larvae. However, they may not be effective if the tree is heavily infested or if a lot of damage has already occurred.
If your tree is not revived with the insecticide injection, your tree care company will likely recommend having the tree removed. Its death is inevitable, and, by removing it at this stage, you'll be reducing the population of emerald ash borers, which will help protect other ash trees in the area. Talk to a tree removal company like Dubois Outdoor Services for more information.
If your ash tree appears healthy so far, you can reduce its risk of an infestation by never bringing other wood onto your property. (It may be harboring emerald ash borers.)