Defending Our Trees: Taking Action Against the Emerald Ash Borer in Missouri
The Emerald Ash Borer, an exotic insect species native to Asia, has rapidly spread throughout the United States since its accidental introduction. It poses a significant threat to ash trees, as the larvae feed on the inner bark, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. This invasive beetle has been wreaking havoc on ash tree populations across the country.
The Emerald Ash Borer in Missouri
Ash trees are native to Missouri and can be found throughout the state, accounting for nearly 3% of our state’s native forest. They are commonly found in forests, urban areas, and residential landscapes. In fact, ash trees were once quite prevalent in Missouri's landscapes.
Unfortunately, the EAB has made its presence known in Missouri, infesting ash trees in both urban and rural areas. This beetle is highly destructive, capable of causing widespread ash tree mortality within a few years if left unchecked. The infestation affects the aesthetics of landscapes, diminishes property values, and poses safety risks due to weakened trees that are prone to falling.
Identifying Symptoms of EAB Infestation
Early detection of EAB infestation is crucial for effectively managing the spread and minimizing damage. Here are some key symptoms to look for in ash trees:
Thinning Canopy: An infested ash tree will exhibit a thinning canopy with excessive branch dieback, starting from the top and progressing downward. Leaves may appear sparse or smaller in size.
D-Shaped Exit Holes: Adult EAB beetles create distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the bark of infested trees. These holes are roughly 1/8 inch in diameter and are a telltale sign of EAB activity.
S-shaped Galleries: Upon peeling back the bark, you may find serpentine or S-shaped galleries created by EAB larvae as they tunnel beneath the bark, disrupting the tree's vascular system.
Epicormic Shoots: Infested ash trees may produce numerous epicormic shoots (new sprouts) along the trunk or main branches. These shoots are a stress response from the tree as it tries to compensate for the damage caused by EAB larvae.
To help keep ash trees healthy and reduce the risk of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation, here are some measures you can take:
Tree Monitoring: Regularly inspect your ash trees for signs of EAB infestation or other health issues. Look for symptoms such as thinning canopy, D-shaped exit holes, serpentine galleries under the bark, and epicormic shoots. Early detection can aid in prompt action.
Proper Tree Care: Maintain overall tree health by practicing good tree care techniques. This includes proper watering, regular mulching, and appropriate pruning. Healthy trees are better equipped to withstand stresses, including EAB infestations.
Diversity in Landscaping: Plant a diverse range of tree species in your landscape instead of relying heavily on ash trees. This reduces the impact of losing a single species due to pests or diseases and promotes a healthier ecosystem.
Be Mindful of Quarantine Regulations: There are federal and state quarantines in Bollinger, Carter, Clay, Iron, Madison, Platte, Pulaski, Reynolds, Shannon and Wayne County on the movement of any part of an ash tree, ash nursery stock, and all hardwood firewood to prevent the spread of EAB.
If you suspect an EAB infestation in your ash trees, it's vital to act promptly. Consider the following steps:
Consult with a Certified Arborist: Our team is experienced in managing EAB infestations. We can assess the health of your ash trees, provide treatment options if appropriate, and guide you on next steps.
Chemical Treatment: After assessing the damage, we may be able to provide multiple treatment options without the need to remove the tree entirely. We inject emamectin benzoate into the tree, which can protect it for approximately two years.
Consider Tree Removal: In cases where an ash tree is severely infested or poses safety risks, removal may be necessary. Our team can safely remove and dispose of infested trees while minimizing the risk of spreading the beetle.
Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer Poses a Severe Threat to Missouri's Ash Trees
By familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of EAB infestation, you can take proactive steps to protect your trees and mitigate the spread of this destructive pest. Remember to contact our team for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. Together, we can safeguard Missouri's ash trees and preserve their ecological and aesthetic value for future generations.
Professional & Safe Tree Services
Even if you have the tools, you may not have the time to properly take care of your trees. Our team of certified arborists provide professional, safe and prompt service. We're happy to provide you with a free estimate to see if our services are a good fit for your property.