Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, attacks only Ash trees. It is believed to have been introduced into Michigan 15 to 20 years ago on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has carved a path of destruction through the northern states and is now present in the southern states, including Tennessee. Typically, Emerald Ash Borer beetles can kill an Ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. They were confirmed in Davidson County in 2016 and surrounding counties are now confirmed and quarantined as well.
What to look for:
The most visible sign that EAB is in your Ash tree is the unique D-shaped hole in the bark. Unfortunately these are exit holes. By the time they are seen, the damage to the tree is already in progress. The process happens under the bark where the larvae feed in the tissues that the tree needs to transport water and nutrients. This activity, largely done in autumn and winter, destroys those necessary tissues, eliminating the tree’s ability to sustain life. At that point, die back in the crown is visible as leaves fail to appear and the branches begin to die. EAB is not the only reason an Ash could fail, but there is no Ash tree that is not susceptible to this insect unless it has been treated specifically to fight against Emerald Ash Borers.
Adult EAB beetles can be spotted in late spring through mid-summer while feeding on the leaves of Ashes. Adults are slender and range between 3/8 – 5/8 inch long. They are named Emerald Ash Borers because of the metallic green color of their outer shell. The larvae, found beneath the bark, are instead a creamy white color.
How they spread:
The normal flight patterns for an adult Emerald Ash Borer is only a couple of miles in its brief lifetime. But the spread of this infestation has caused massive destruction due to the transportation of Ash trees used as firewood or other products made from the trees. Adult EAB males are believed to live approximately two weeks, whereas females live for three. During that life cycle, the female may mate several times and lay between 65 – 90 eggs. The eggs, larvae, or pupae are difficult to see, which makes it difficult to detect when transporting the wood from one area of the country to another. For this reason, all middle Tennessee counties are under an Ash quarantine. The wood must stay in its county of origin.
What you can do to save your Ash tree:
Treat! There are a lot of naysayers out there that will tell you treating does not work. We disagree. We continue to glean information from the northern states, which have already born the brunt of the impact from EAB. We’ve got the knowledge, the best product, and seasoned professionals to begin the process of saving your Ash tree. You should be prepared to treat every two years for the foreseeable future in order to best protect your tree. However, the good news is that you can treat your Ash tree for up to twenty years before you’ll match the cost of removal.
However, it’s important that you understand you may have to make a tough choice on whether to save or remove your Ash tree. If the tree has already been damaged heavily, if you have many Ash trees on your property, or if your Ash tree is already aged and in decline, it may be smarter to invest your money in removal and then replant something different.
We can help you make the best decision for your property! Give us a call and we’ll come out to take a look and give you our best recommendations. 615-299-9999