Ash Trees destroyed by Emerald Ash Borer

Tough Choices for Ash Trees: The Latest on Emerald Ash Borer

What is Emerald Ash Borer?

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an insect that attacks all true Ash trees (Fraxinus). It is considered one of the most important forest pests of all time, and has caused the death of millions of Ash trees. Counties, municipalities, residential and forest owners have been burdened with tremendous costs — from lost timber value to expensive removal and disposal costs.

The EAB beetle is about 1/2″ long, and is metallic green in color. The larvae of this species bores into the tree and feeds under the bark. This disrupts the tree’s ability to transport nutrients.  Beneath the bark, you can see visible tracks from their activity.

Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer (Photo courtesy of Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)
Emerald Ash Borer Tunnels under Ash tree bark
Emerald Ash Borer Damage (Photo courtesy of William M. Ciesla, Forest Health management International, Bugwood.org)

Background of EAB in the Twin Cities

Some regions were blind-sided by this foreign pest. Fortunately, EAB took longer to find its way into our area. With heightened awareness, we were able to plan ahead. EAB was first discovered in St. Paul on May 14, 2009 — and we were ready. 

Our Response

We had great research on a chemical treatment for the insect, plus the equipment and knowledge to safely remove trees. We moved forward successfully responding to this pest. It is now 2021 and many Ash trees have been saved.

What is the Treatment for EAB?

Many people in our area made the decision to proactively address this threat. Emamectin Benzoate has been effective in keeping treated Ash trees alive- if applied every two years.  Those with valuable Ash trees chose to treat them. In cases where people had Ash trees that were not important, they opted to remove them before they died.  This helped us get ahead of the curve.

Emerald Ash Borer Damage
Emerald Ash Borer Damage (Photo Courtesy of Steven Katovich, Bugwood.org)

The Status of EAB in the Twin Cities

Things will change a little moving forward. There are an enormous number of untreated Ash trees on properties throughout our service area. Most of these are heavily infested and beyond treatment.

Dead Ash Trees are Uniquely Dangerous

Dead Ash trees become very brittle and weak and fall apart very easily. These trees pose imminent threat to people and properties. They are also very dangerous for us to work on.  If we are able to remove the trees earlier – while there is still life- we can use more conventional methods. If the trees are dead, they are very unsafe to climb. To safely work on them, we need to use our back yard lifts. The more precautions we need to take, the higher the removal cost.

A Time for Tough Choices 

We are encouraging people to make a decision this season.

  • If your tree looks ok, and you want to keep it, we can give treatment recommendations.
  • If your tree is starting to look weak, the top is dead or the entire tree is dead —don’t wait.  Contact us to schedule your tree removal. The longer you wait, the more dangerous the situation becomes and the greater the cost.
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