Emerald Ash Borer feasting on local trees

Dead trees. More dead trees. I recently traveled to central Ohio and into western Ohio for my job. The effects of the Emerald Ash Borer seem to be everywhere, including Trumbull County along state Route 534 in Braceville Township. Maybe you have noticed too, or unfortunately experienced the Emerald Ash Borer on your own property.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive wood boring insect from Asia first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is suspected that EAB was introduced by bringing infested wood packing material into the state. The adult EAB is a dark metallic green and flies from mid-May through September. The rest of the year, EAB is in the larvae stage and inside the tree. Once an ash tree becomes infested it usually dies within three to five years.

If you have ash trees that appear healthy and you want to save from EAB, here are some things to consider. Does the tree enhance the landscape or have value to the landowner? Does the tree show any outward signs of an infestation? If there are woodpecker damage or bark splits, there is probably too much damage to consider treatment options. Is the tree vigorously growing and have at least half of its leaves?

What treatment options are available? If the tree is less than 20 inches in diameter at chest height you can treat the tree yourself. There are over-the-counter products available that contain imidicloprid. This product is easy to use and applied as a soil drench. Just ask at your local garden center for available products. You can use them now, but next year treat between April 15 and May 15. If your tree is more than 20 inches in diameter, you probably should contact a tree professional who can treat your tree using injections.

My dad has told me that ash trees in Ohio hadn’t been doing well even before EAB was detected near Toledo in 2003. In the 1980s a new disease in ash was detected named Ash Yellows. It’s a disease that causes slow growth and general decline. There are several native pests that attack weakened and stressed trees. Banded Ash Clearwing Borer and Red headed Ash Borer are the most common.

Whether you have tree damage from EAB or some other culprit, it’s no good. Please keep in mind that you cannot take firewood out of Ohio. There are no longer restrictions on moving firewood within the state. If you want more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website at www.agri.ohio.gov.

Mary Smallsreed is a member of Trumbull County Farm Bureau and grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.