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Emerald Ash Borer Treatment and Prevention

March 24th, 2016 Tree pest and insect control

The emerald ash borer is a type of beetle that infests and kills ash trees. Although native to Asia, they managed to make their way to the United States and were first discovered in 2002.

Since 2002, they’ve infested and killed tens of millions of trees in North America, including in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  They spread to Bucks County, PA in 2012 and Montgomery County, PA by 2013. The insect was confirmed in Mercer County, NJ in 2014.

Left untreated, Emerald Ash Borers kill ash trees. Although some trees can be saved after an infestation is discovered, THE BEST DEFENSE IS TO TREAT YOUR ASH TREES BEFORE THEY BECOME INFESTED!

The USDA Forest Service and Michigan State University have created an excellent site with information for consumers about this insect. This site can be found here.

What do emerald ash borers look like?

The adult beetles are about half an inch long, and are metallic green. The larvae are flat and white, with a pair of brown pincher-like appendages.  In most cases, you will never see the insect until it is too late. They start feeding high up in the tips of the trees, spend most of their time beneath the bark, and are rarely seen close to the ground.

How does an Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation work?

emerald ash borer preventionAn EAB infestation happens when the adult borer lays its eggs inside an ash tree. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed, eating just below the bark of the tree. All of this feeding eats away at the tissue inside the tree which moves water and nutrients, causing the tree to slowly die. This can go on for two to three years before you notice signs of decline.

What are some symptoms of an EAB infestation?

There are a number of ways to tell if emerald ash borers have taken over your trees:

  • After an infestation, your trees may start to grow new leaves at the base or on the trunk, often just below the larvae’s feeding site.
  • Check for dead branches, discolored leaves and bark that’s begun to split. Affected tree usually die from the top down.
  • Adult borers leave a D-shaped hole through the bark when they surface.
  • EAB larvae are a favorite food of woodpeckers. The birds will strip away the bark from your trees to get at the insects.

It is important to note, by the time these symptoms emerge it may be too late to save your tree. This is why PREVENTATIVE TREATMENTS ARE KEY TO PROTECTING FROM EMERALD ASH BORER.

Will insecticides work against EAB infestation?

Yes! There are several well-studied insecticide treatments that are effective against the Emerald Ash Borer.  However, studies have shown that these products are most effective when used preventatively before an infestation has affected your trees. A great guide to homeowners on treatment options can be found here.

We offer all of the available treatment options for Emerald Ash Borer, but we generally recommend treatment using Tree-Age. Not only have studies shown this to be by far the most effective treatment, but this is the only available treatment that provides protection for more than one year. This product is injected directly into the trunk of the tree through small plugs that allow the tree to heal over the injection site.

Insecticide treatments are most effective as a form of prevention – before the EAB gets to your tree – rather than as a form of control. Treatments might stop infestation if dieback of the crown is lower than 30 percent.

Treatments may not always be effective.  Age, storm damage and other injuries to the tree can hamper the effectiveness of an insecticide. Once infestation sets in and the tree shows signs of decay, the only foolproof method to deal with EAB is to remove the tree.

Most insecticides should be applied by a licensed professional.  All of our applicators are well-trained, licensed, and fully insured. We have been protecting trees for more than 30 years and have treated and saved hundreds if not thousands of Ash trees since the insect was discovered in our region.

Let Willow Tree and Landscape Save Your Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer

If you live in our region, it’s vital that you protect your ash trees against the EAB. Early detection is the key, and our certified arborists at Willow Tree & Landscape are experts at defending trees against these pests.  We will provide a free property inspection and recommend the best treatment for your trees and your budget.

If you have ash trees on your property, and you live in Bucks and Montgomery counties in PA or Hunterdon and Mercer counties in NJ, don’t delay.  Contact us today to learn more about how Willow Tree Services can help safeguard your trees.

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