Emerald Ash Borer Risks, Signs and Prevention Methods
Across Utah and much of the rest of the Wasatch, ash trees are extremely common and define much of the landscape. They also offer specific benefits like erosion prevention and heat limitation due to their size, but they must also receive proper care – including from various pests that may look to invade.
At Affordable Tree Care, our arborists are proud to provide a wide range of tree disease control services, including insect control to prevent common pests. One pest that threatens ash trees in some areas: The emerald ash borer. What is this pest, are you at-risk from it in Utah, and how can you prevent any such risks? Here’s a primer on the emerald ash borer.
Emerald Ash Borer Basics
Known scientifically as Agrilus planipennis, the emerald ash borer, abbreviated EAB, is a metallic-green beetle that was originally transported to the United States from Asia. It’s about half an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide, with small reddish-brown eggs and white larvae. EAB itself is harmless – but the larvae bores into ash tree bark, feeding on transportation tissues and messing with water flow and nutrient production. Over time, this will cause the death of the ash tree.
Utahns, however, are mostly in luck: Currently, per Utah State University, the emerald ash borer is not active in the state. This doesn’t mean there can’t be occasional sightings or potential issues, but the pest is not creating common infestations across the state. Still, for those who spend any time in neighboring states or just want to be prepared if an outbreak does occur here, read on for more detail.
Impact on Trees
By late May, ash borer adults will emerge and females will lay their eggs. As these hatch, larvae will bore into the tree, feeding below the bark but also leaving tracks you can see. They will also disrupt how water is transported throughout the tree, plus stop nutrients from reaching the proper places.
Over time, the larvae will mature and emerge adults. These will create specific holes in the tree, usually D-shaped. Over a period of one to four years, the tree will slowly die if it isn’t treated.
Signs to Watch For
For those outside Utah, a few signs of emerald ash borers include:
- Damage from woodpeckers
- Thinning canopy
- Cracking branches and bark that splits vertically
- D-shaped exit holes, usually about an eighth of an inch in diameter
Prevention of emerald ash borers involves a couple different types of potential preventive injections that may be used. These will disperse throughout the canopy and target larvae, often lasting multiple years after application. And luckily, many of these injections involve nutrient types or pest prevention methods that are also effective against other risks to your ash trees, so even in a place like Utah where emerald ash borers aren’t currently a major risk, you’ll be in good shape.
For more on understanding and preventing emerald ash borers or any other pest from your trees, or to learn about any of our arborist services, speak to the staff at Affordable Tree Care today.