Beware the Emerald Ash Borer - Prevention is Key!

Ash trees are one of the most beautiful trees comprising our Pennsylvania landscape. They flourish in our environment and are found in native wooded mountains, lower wetlands and are popular landscaping choices for parks, schools, businesses and residences.

Beware the Emerald Ash BorerAshes grow to esteemed heights of 50- (Black Ash) to 80-feet (White Ash) and their canopies form a quintessential “Tree Profile.” The shade canopy of an ash tree is a powerful barrier against summertime heat and interior solar gain. For these reasons and more – they add great value to our Pennsylvania properties. Unfortunately, for all their size, bulk and regal beauty, Ash trees can still fall prey to Emerald Ash Borers (Agrilus planipennis) if you aren’t prepared. In fact, larger and more mature trees are more vulnerable to these pests. If you have an Ash tree on your property, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) prevention is a MUST! The good news is that we can eradicate these pests and your attention to detail – and willingness to have your trees pro-actively treated – is the key to saving our beautiful ash trees.

Take Action Now & Protect Your Ash Trees From the Emerald Ash Borer

Tree Insect Disease Treatment

The Emerald ash borer is considered one of the most destructive insects to hit our area in years. The beetles arrived via Asia back in the 1990s and have been making themselves right at home ever since, feasting on North American native ash trees. They are responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees thus far, and they will continue to kill millions more if they are not treated and stopped in their tracks. EABs are relatively quick acting, and a single infestation can result in a completely dead ash tree within just two to four years. The infestation begins when adult EABs lay their eggs in the bark of the ash tree. These eggs hatch the beetle in their larval form. The larva eat the tree’s inner bark layers for nourishment. Unfortunately, all that eating destroys the inner layers of the tree such that it can no longer transport water and nutrients through its trunk, branches, limbs and canopy. Eventually, the tree begins to wither and die. Your tree will communicate with you loud and clear, via signs and symptoms, if EABs are present: Signs of an EAB infestation:

  • The emerald green adult beetles
  • Their creamy colored larva with pincher-like appendages (larva grow up to 1 ½ inches long)
  • D-shaped exit holes left when the adult beetles exit the tree
  • S-shaped tracks (called galleries) left from the back and forth motion as the larva feeds underneath the bark.
Symptoms of an EAB infestation:
  • The tree will shed its leaves, causing a dramatic die back at the crown of the canopy, which is the first to feel the effects of dehydration and malnourishment.
  • New growth will begin spurting at the lower levels of the tree as the tree works to save itself.
  • The bark will begin to split vertically in response to the S-shaped galleries left by the larva, however, the upper canopy will continue to die back.
  • Heightened woodpecker activity since woodpeckers love to eat those juicy larva under the bark.
  • Vertical strips of missing bark (called “flecking”), which are left from the woodpecker feedings.

Treatment for Emerald Ash Borers

Unfortunately, once a tree is infected, successful control measures are limited. It is very difficult to save a tree that is already infected with EABs. This is a prime example of the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here at Joshua Tree, we feel the best means of preventing an EAB infestation is to inject the trunk with a registered product. This method has been highly effective for us over the years and a single application can last for two years. You can also use basal applications at the base of the tree, near the root collar, or use registered insecticides. Unfortunately, these topical treatments are not always effective and have to be reapplied repeatedly in order to (hopefully) their job. Would you like a professional arborist to take care of emerald ash borer insect prevention for your trees? Do you suspect your tree has been infected? Contact Joshua Tree, (610) 365-2200, and we’ll get you on the books as soon as we can. Let’s work together to save one of our region’s arboreal legacies.

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