Around 2002, a new backyard villain made its way to Ontario. Starting from a home population in Michigan, this scourge of majestic ash trees invaded Windsor, spread to the London area, and now can be found as far north as Sault Ste. Marie. In little more than a decade and a half, it’s become an invasive species as infamous as the zebra mussel, the Asian carp, and the giant hogweed.
This villain is the emerald ash borer, and it might be coming for yourr trees.
In all seriousness, this shiny green beetle has caused significant damage to native ash trees wherever it has invaded.
Their impact is so bad that they can kill a tree within two to three years. While local governments and park authorities are doing what they can, they need assistance. If you have an ash tree on your property, it’s important to know what to look for so you can help prevent them from spreading.
How To Spot Marks Of The Emerald Ash Borer
The effects of the emerald ash borer on trees are very evident, even if you have no arborist experience. Look for:
- Dieback on the crown of the tree: The canopy will be thin, brown, and dying from the top down. Leaves will color even during their growth season.
- Cracks in the bark: Vertical splits can reveal what are known as larval galleries, the tunnels they bore in the tree. The boring of the larvae inhibits movement of nutrients and water through the tree, thus causing it to die.
- Increased presence of woodpeckers: woodpeckers are smart, and know where there are easy pickings. The larvae in the tree make for woodpecker feast, so if they’re paying increased attention to your ash tree, so should you.
- 3-4 millimetre holes: When the emerald ash borer matures, it eats its way out of the bark. These exit holes can be hard to see, so take a close look.
The City and the Ash Tree
If you have ash trees on your property, the city of London requests the owners take responsibility for the trees. “We are in a critical stage of this infestation right now,” says the City’s webpage on the emerald ash borer. “If action is taken now, there is a chance you could save your tree for the foreseeable future and defer the high cost of tree removal. However, treatment is most successful if done from June to August.”
They also request something else: no new ash trees. This all makes sense, in that you could be exacerbating a problem and spreading a disease to your neighbours. Paying attention to the trees you do have, and taking necessary steps if you notice an infestation, could preserve trees and help stop the spread.
What To Do
If you see any evidence of the emerald ash borer on your property, call a certified arborist if your tree might need help. It can be taken care of with insecticides, but if the tree is dead, it needs to be removed and segregated as soon as possible. This way, the infestation can be contained, lowering the chance of infecting other trees.
So if you have an ash tree, and it doesn’t look good, call us at 519-670-9988 and we will respond as fast as possible!