By Angie’s List Staff:
There’s a green menace that may be lurking in your trees and it’s spreading. If you have ash trees around your home, the Emerald ash borer (EAB) may be destroying them.
The Emerald ash borer is a beetle that chews up ash trees quickly. The little larvae feed on the bark of ash trees. The hungry bugs destroy a tree’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.
Experts think the Emerald ash borer arrived in the country inside wood packing materials transported from Asia. The United States Department of Agriculture has tracked the bug since it arrived in 2002 around Detroit.
Since then the Emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in Michigan alone and the spread of the beetle has left a path of destruction. The borer has destroyed tens of millions more in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Despite efforts to control the spread of EAB, each year tree experts say they creep further into the nation.
“The Emerald ash borer can do a lot of damage and the tree may be dead before you realize it,” says Angie Hicks. “What people don’t realize is that the trees in your yard can add 3-7 percent to the value of your home so investing in them can be a great return on your home.”
Angie’s List, the nation’s leader in consumer reviews, surveyed about a dozen highly rated arborists who say more people are calling them for help to identify EAB. Here’s advice on how to spot the green menace.
Signs of Emerald Ash Borer Infestation:
- Hear a Tapping Sound? Increased woodpecker activity around your ash trees may indicate the borers are present. Woodpeckers dig into the tree to eat EAB larvae.
- Looking Thin: Look at the top third of the tree. If you notice the canopy thinning or dying back, it’s a sign the beetles have arrived and are prohibiting water and nutrients from getting to that part of the ash tree.
- Give me a D: When adult Emerald ash borers emerge from inside the tree, they leave D-shaped holes. Sometimes the holes look like a D with the flat side down. Adult activity is usually noticed June through August.
- Finding the problem early is essential, say arborists. Treatments are always more cost-effective than having the tree removed.
- Right now, the most effective treatment is a series of injections into the tree. You’ll need a tree service to do this for you and expect several treatments to make sure the borer is gone. The injections range in cost from $7 to $16 per trunk diameter inch. Removing the tree could cost thousands of dollars depending on its size. The key to saving the tree without spending a fortune is finding the right tree service to help.
Why Hire an Arborist?
An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees and they are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
- Membership Card: Ask if the tree service has members in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA). This demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up to date on the latest techniques and information.
- Certified: Find out if the tree service has an ISA-certified arborist on staff. Certified Arborists have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
- Ask for proof of insurance. A reputable arborist carries personal and property damage insurance as well as workers compensation insurance. You could be held responsible for damages and injuries by an uninsured contractor.