Is your ASH Tree is dead or dying because it has been infested with the
Emerald Ash Borer?
A saddened homeowner must confront the next step:
Getting it cut down.
Because its wood is brittle, a dead ash must not be left standing. "It's a safety hazard,". Limbs can break, endangering people and causing property damage, or the entire tree can fall.
The ash tree dies by drying out, because the borers cut off the vessels that carry moisture out to the branches. The wood already has become brittle before its end. Some kinds of trees can stand for many years after they die, but the ash tree is not one of them,". If a tree falls in the forest it provides a wonderful habitat for many plants and animals.
"But if it dies in your yard, you want it gone."
A falling tree or branches could harm people or damage buildings and cars. It can cost a property owner hundreds or even thousands of dollars to have a tree cut down, depending on its size, location and condition. But those who fail to promptly remove dead ash trees because of the trouble and expense may find the delay is costly. Many municipalities have the legal power to remove hazardous trees and bill the homeowner for the cost. They can place a lien against the property to collect. Has someone advised you to wait until the tree falls, in the hope that homeowners' insurance will cover the cost of the damage and removal? That's a bad bet. Increasingly, insurance companies are refusing to pay such claims on the grounds that the homeowner was negligent in not removing the dead tree. Since the tree may already be unstable and dangerous, it's wise to hire a trained, insured professional arborist to do the job.
Don't delay, because the more the tree dries out the more risky - and expensive - the job will become.
- Crown dieback: Dieback of the upper and outer crown begins after multiple years of EAB larval feeding. Trees start to show dead branches throughout the canopy, beginning at the top. Larval feeding disrupts nutrient and water flow to the upper canopy, resulting in leaf loss. Leaves at the top of the tree may be thin and discolored.
- Epicormic Sprouting: When trees are stressed or sick, they will try to grow new branches and leaves wherever they still can. Trees may have new growth at the base of the tree and on the trunk, often just below where the larvae are feeding, small branches are growing on the trunk, about 6 feet off the ground.
- Bark splits: Vertical splits in the bark are caused due to callus tissue that develops around larval galleries. Larval galleries can often be seen beneath bark splits.
- Woodpecker feeding: Woodpeckers eat emerald ash borer larvae that are under the bark. This usually happens higher in the tree where the emerald ash borer prefers to attack
first. If there are large numbers of larvae under the bark the woodpecker damage can make it look like strips of bark have been pulled off of the tree. This is called "flecking."
- D-shaped emergence holes: As adults emerge from under the bark they create a D-shaped emergence hole that is about 1/8 inch in diameter.
- S-shaped larval galleries: As larvae feed under the bark they wind back and forth, creating galleries that are packed with frass (larva poop) and sawdust and follow a serpentine
- Larvae: Larvae are cream-colored, slightly flattened (dorso-ventrally) and have pincher-like appendages (urogomphi) at the end of their abdomen. By the time larvae are done
growing they are 1 1/2 inches long. Larvae are found feeding beneath the bark.
- Adults: Adult beetles are metallic green and about the size of one grain of cooked rice (3/8 - 1/2 inch long and 1/16 inch wide). Adults are flat on the back and rounded on their underside