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Emerald Ash Borer Prevention and Treatment

How Arbor Ace Tree Service Treats Emerald Ash Borer

What is Emerald Ash Borer
It is a dark green bug shaped like a bullet that decimates every Ash tree it comes across. EAB feeds on the leaves of Ash trees which causes some defoliation. This is not what kills the tree, but adds to the overall decline of the tree. The real devastation occurs where it cannot be seen under the bark. The larvae, which are under the bark, destroy the cambium layer, which in turn stops water and nutrient flow, thereby killing the tree. Some signs of EAB are canopy dieback (loss of leaves), small D shaped holes in the bark of the tree, as well as epicormic growth(suckers, water sprouts) along the trunk of the tree.

What to do when Trees are infected?

Call an ISA Certified Arborist or a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert to have an assessment done to see if the trees can be treated or if they need to be removed. Trying to treat a tree that is too far gone won’t do anything except waste time and money trying to save it. The trees are best assessed during the growing season so we can see the canopy leafed out. If there is 30 percent or more dieback, our recommendation will be to remove the tree and dispose of it properly to further reduce the spread of the insects.

If the trees are still in good health and structurally sound, they can be treated. If you decide to move forward with the treatments, please realize that depending on the insecticide, they will need to be treated every one to two years until EAB leaves the area; which is typically around 8 years.

There are various treatment options, but our go to method is using direct injection into the tree. A small hole is drilled into the tree through the bark into the cambium layer and then a pressurized capsule is placed into this hole in the tree and the insecticide is taken up and spread throughout the tree. This limits insecticides being placed in the ground or on the trunk. We feel it is the most environmentally friendly approach.

A dying ash tree infected by Emerald Ash Borer. Photo by Michael Hunter/Wikimedia Commons

I feel healthy trees are worth treating and maintaining as the replacement and aesthetic value of the Ash Trees to New Jersey is a great natural resource. Call Arbor Ace Tree Service LLC to come out and assess the health of your Ash Trees and discuss treatment options before it is too late. Once certain thresholds are met, the only option becomes removal. If the trees are recommended for removal, they should be removed right away, as Ash trees rot apart very quickly and the longer they are left up, the more hazardous and costly the removal becomes.

What are the signs?

Yellow or wilted foliage, or decreased density of healthy-looking leaves
Heavily infested trees will display canopy die-back, which is when the top of the tree thins out
Many small holes, like ones a woodpecker may impress upon wood
Exit holes in the shape of a capital D, creating an emergence hole that is about 1/8 inch in diameter
Splitting or cracking of bark
D-shaped exit holes from emerald ash borer adults. Attribution - By Daniel Herms via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Facts About the EAB

Size of an Emerald Ash Borer as displayed on a US Penny Attribution - By Howard Russell via Wikimedia Commons
The EAB threatens the source of ash trees
The most extensive damage is done during the larva stage(larval), because the EAB larva feeds on tissue in the tree that delivers water and nutrients to the tree
Adult EABs begin emerging in Mid-Spring with peak emergence in early to Mid-June
About two weeks after emerging, adult female EABs begin to hatch eggs
Larva feed for several weeks before entering the Pupal Stage. Once the Pupal Stage is complete, adults begin a new life cycle
Adult EABs only live for about three weeks