Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been a troublesome insect that has been impacting the Bruce Peninsula area for a number of years.
Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been a troublesome insect that has been impacting the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario area for a number of years. Are your trees affected? In this guide, we will be discussing where EAB is most prolific, how it affects the trees it targets, how it is treated, and whether you should consider getting your trees assessed.
Many people will wonder what this creature is and why they should worry about it. An emerald ash borer is a beetle that eats the live wood within ash trees. The adult beetle lays eggs under the bark of trees, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat an area of the tree known as conductive tissue. Conductive tissue functions as a nutrient and water transport system for the tree; without a functional, healthy conductive system, a tree will perish.
Fortunately, this fate is not necessarily quick to arrive. Trees have the ability to store water and nutrients within their trunks and branches. Because of this, trees can survive for months or even years after significant damage has occurred, even though death is imminent once the conductive tissue is lost. Therefore, it is important to get trees assessed by a professional who can judge the severity of symptoms and determine the likelihood of survival. It is also important to assess trees as early in the season as possible after the leaves have emerged, as more damage will be incurred over the summer and fall if the insect is present. If trees are assessed or treated late in the summer or fall, the greater the likelihood of damage that is not yet visible being present in the tree.
Within this region, we are seeing areas of significant population growth of Emerald Ash Borer, as well as areas where it is not yet a significant threat to the ash population. Bruce Peninsula and surrounding areas are currently the most strongly affected in this region. The population of the insect in these areas is at its peak and thus is the most dangerous to the ash population in this area. Trees within this area still have potential to be treatable, and early assessment is key for preventing additional damage to each tree. In areas of lower insect populations, assessment is still key, as affected trees are likely to be permanently damaged or lost even when populations of the insect are low. The notion of being proactive versus reactive is paramount.
Treatment of trees for emerald ash borer is both simple and effective. The process involves injecting the trees with a product that is specially formulated to target this insect. It protects the tree through three main processes. First, the product contains an unpalatable chemical that makes the tree taste bad and tries to dissuade the insect from choosing it. Second, most insects that do chew on any part of the trees, from leaves to roots, will be killed. Third, any emerald ash borer eggs that are laid in the trees will have a 99% chance of becoming nonviable and not hatching. The importance of assessing early is compounded by the fact that preventative treatment will have a greater chance of saving your tree from damage than waiting until the beetle has already caused harm to your tree.
Wondering how to know whether this is something you should be worried about? There are a number of symptoms that you can check for, but it is always best to get an expert’s eyes on the situation. We can assess your trees and determine whether they are still healthy enough to consider treatment. We also monitor the trees under our care for changes in their health to make sure that we are giving every tree the best care it can receive. If you are interested in receiving a tree assessment, give us a call at 519-599-7470, and we will be happy to assist you.
If you want to get an idea for yourself of how your trees are going, take a look at them for the following symptoms:
- Bark flaking off trunks, revealing pale bark underneath
- Thinning of leaf canopy
- Clusters of growth or shoots on trunks or branches
If you see any of these symptoms, it is essential that an assessment is completed ASAP.