What is the Emerald Ash Borer?

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia that kills ash trees by destroying the water and nutrient conducting tissues under the tree's bark.

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a green buprestid or jewel beetle native to north-eastern Asia that feeds on the ash species.

Females lay eggs in bark crevices on ash trees, and larvae feed underneath the bark of ash trees to emerge as adults in one to two years.

Although it has only been in this country since 2002, hitchhiking here by planes and cargo ships, it has decimated millions of ash trees.

Which Trees are at Risk?

The emerald ash borer attacks and kills all North American species of Ash. In NJ, the Ash species mostly at risk are the Green Ash, White Ash, as well as the closely related White Fringetree. Infested Ash Trees in North America generally die within two to three years.

Green Ash Tree

White Ash Tree

White Fringe Tree

Ash Trees are a New Jersey Treasure

Ash trees are an important part of America's urban and rural landscape. They are commonly found on city streets and in windbreaks as well as residential properties. In many areas, ash trees are one of the few trees suitable for planting in urban areas.

Ash wood is also an essential resource, used to make furniture, hardwood floors, baseball bats, tool handles, electric guitars, hockey sticks and other materials that require high strength and resilience.

The Damage Inflicted by the Emerald Ash Borer

Adult beetles are 1/2” long and 1/8” wide, metallic green in color, with a metallic copper red abdomen. The adults feed only on ash foliage, however the more significant damage is caused by their larvae wich feed on the inner bark of the ash tree.

Newly hatched larvae penetrate the tree and feed in the area between the bark and the wood, which is where tree nutrients are transported. The beetle larvae overwinter in the outer portions of wood or bark and pupate in the spring. They have a one- or two-year life cycle completed entirely in association with ash trees. Adults emerge in late spring. They mate, feed and lay eggs, and together, the adult and larvae decimate an ash tree often within 2 years of infestation.

How to Spot an Emerald Ash Borer Problem

The time to deal with an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation is BEFORE you notice it. Trees with noticeable Ash Borer damage can be saved, but due to the rapid spread of the EAB and the susceptibility of Ash Trees to this infestation, it's essential for the survival of our Ash population that we are mindful to monitor our Ash Trees closely. 

If you have Ash Trees on your property, please have the crown inspected regularly by an arborist. (Once/year) Ashes tend to be very large, so we don't recommend climbing up into the tree yourself. An arborist can identify early signs of infestation. The earlier an infestation is noticed, the more likely it is, not only that the tree can be saved, but that the EAB can infestation can be noted with forrestry management, triggering a push to treat any ash trees within a 15 mile radius of the infestation to protect our precious Ash population. 

If you notice any of the following, please schedule an inspection right away:

  • D shaped holes throughout the bark of the tree
  • Woodpecker activity in the tree
  • Reduced Foliage
  • Weak/Dying Branches
  • Epicormic Sprouting (when the tree tries to grow new branches wherever it can... you may see twig sized branche sprouting from the trunk)
  • Splitting Bark/S shaped galleries

Emerald Ash Borer Treatments

While there are four types of treatment for emerald ash borer protection, the first thing is to get your trees inspected, to make sure it is viable for treatment. An ash tree with significant damage needs to be removed. Many will require the more dangerous branches be removed. 

Ash trees with minimal damage or none are the best candidates for treatment. Any Ash with more than 50% loss in foliage is likely beyond saving.

Treatment options include soil injection and trunk injection, delivering the solution into the tree's circulatory system and spreading it throughout the canopy.

These treatments target the larvae tunneling in the tree. Bark spray is used on the bottom 5-6 feet of the tree trunk, and canopyy sprays prevent adult borers from feeding and laying eggs. Controlled and systematic applications are the safest for both your tree and the immediate environment. There are consumer-available treatments, however they are not as effective as those available to professional arborists. 

If you have Ash Trees on your property, please have the crown inspected regularly by an arborist. (Once/year) Ashes tend to be very large, so we don't recommend climbing up into the tree yourself. An arborist can identify early signs of infestation. The earlier an infestation is noticed, the more likely it is, not only that the tree can be saved, but that the EAB can infestation can be noted with forrestry management, triggering a push to treat any ash trees within a 15 mile radius of the infestation to protect our precious Ash population. 

Treatments will have to be applied on a consistent basis - about once/year. For an Ash Tree inspection, call Advanced Tree Care Today! 

(908) 637-8476