There is a new epidemic hitting ash trees in Colorado called the Emerald Ash Borer. The EAB is a green jewel tone and is native to eastern Asia. The Emerald Ash Borer affects only ash trees. Discovered in Boulder in September 2013, it is a non-native pest and as such it lacks predators to keep it in check. The forests of Colorado contain approximately 15% ash trees while Denver has over 1.45 million ash trees. This little pest is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees each year.
A Touch of Class Tree Service can help if you suspect you have an issue the Emerald Ash Borer. If you are uncertain whether you have any ash trees, it’s important to know what the bark is and what type of leaves they have. The branches appear directly across from one another, and they are not staggered. The leaves are composed of 5-11 leaflets which may be smooth or toothed. The bark on mature trees is tight with a distinct diamond pattern. The MSU Bulletin has a pdf which will help you to distinguish ash trees from other common trees you may have in your yard.
It is thought that the Emerald Ash Borer first arrived in the US in the wood packing material carried on airplanes and cargo ships in its native Asia. Since its discovery in the US, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed hundreds of millions of trees in North American. Because of this outbreak, research agencies and the USDA imposed quarantines and fines to help prevent logs, infected trees, and firewood from moving costing property owners, municipalities, nurseries and homeowners associations hundreds of millions of dollars.
The adult beetles nibble on the ash foliage causing very little damage. They lay their eggs in the diamond shaped crevices of the bark. Once the eggs hatch, they burrow into the tree, and the larvae feed on the inner bark which disrupts the tree’s ability to absorb the proper nutrients disrupting the water supplying layers and riddling the tree with tunnels.
Once inside the trees, the larvae pupae hatch in the spring. They burrow out of the tunnels breed again, and the whole process starts over again killing the canopy of leaves. If left unattended the entire tree will be gone within three to five years.
The symptoms of an infested ash tree are similar to symptoms caused by other pests. If you see two or more of the following symptoms, it is time to call a professional. Infected trees start to show dead branches beginning at the top as well as leaf loss and discoloration. The bark will have vertical splits with visible larval galleries. You may also see an increase in woodpeckers which feed on the larvae.
If you suspect you have EAB problem on your ash trees, don’t wait to contact a professional like A Touch Of Class Tree Service for help.