Four Questions To Ask When Treating For Ash Borers

The emerald ash borer can decimate the ash trees on your property in just a few years. Fortunately, treatments can save the trees if you apply them at the right time.

1. Is the Tree Already Infested?

Waiting until ash borers have already invaded the tree before calling in for treatment can be a mistake, but you may be able to save the tree if you act quickly. Signs of emerald ash borers include canopy dieback, fissures and cracks in the bark, increased woodpecker feeding on the trunks, and boreholes in the tree. A prompt treatment injection can kill the larva of the borers and prevent future infestations if you keep up with treatments as recommended.

2. How Likely Is Infestation?

If the ash borer hasn't yet arrived in your area, then you will need to determine if it is yet time to begin the treatments. Borer treatments are applied every one to two years, so it can be expensive to treat prematurely. Most state agriculture or forestry services in areas under borer infestation post annual maps indicating which zones are most likely to see borer activity. If you are in one of these zones, or if you have noticed borer damage on nearby trees, then infestation is likely and it is time to begin treatment.

3. What Is the Tree's Health?

There is no point in spending time and money to save a tree that is in poor health. Ash trees that are suffering from other problems, such as severe damage and disease, are less likely to respond well enough to treatment in order to survive yet one more pest feeding upon them. If the borers haven't yet invaded the tree, you can try to improve the other health issues. If the tree responds well, then it may be worth it to treat for borers.

4. Is The Tree Worth Saving?

Not all ash trees are worth the expense and effort of saving. Ash borer treatment is not a once-and-done task. It must be repeated periodically. If you own a larger forested property, it simply isn't cost-effective to save every single ash tree. Instead, focus your efforts on the most important trees in your landscape. This includes those that play a central role in your landscape design, as well as those that would be expensive to remove. Then, treat the ash trees that are worth saving and remove the rest so that they don't harbor the pests.

Contact a tree service that offers emerald ash borer treatment to prepare your trees.