Emerald Ash Borer. The infestation is upon us. This little invasive beetle has caused a major headache for trees in the upper Midwest and has finally arrived here in Minnesota. The beetle itself does little damage to the ash tree. It’s the larva that do the real killing. Ash Borer beetle larva eat the inner bark of the ash tree which then interrupts the trees ability to transport food and nutrients. This little bug has caused the deaths of tens of millions of ash trees across the upper Midwest. This in turn has cost nurseries, home owners, forestry’s, and municipalities tens of millions of dollars.
Minnesotans need to be particularly concerned. Minnesota has one of the highest volumes of Ash trees on forest lands. We have an estimated 867 million forestland trees in Minnesota as well as tens of thousands more on private home properties. The economic as well as environmental impact of a mass infestation would be devastating.
Branches and buds are opposite with a single bud at the end of the branch. Twigs are gray to brown and don’t have a waxy coating. Leaves are compound, 8 to 12 inches long, 5 to 9 leaflets/leaf. Leaves may be finely toothed or have smooth edges.
The Ash seeds are normally a shade of greenish white in color when ripe and turn a shade of brown later in the year. They are narrow seeds in a sort of paddle shape. The seeds are found in groups found on the ends of the branches.
When the ash borer infests a tree it kills it from the inside out. It burrows holes in the tree and eats the bark on the inside. The holes in the tree are small and inconspicuous and will be hard to see unless you are really looking for them. Once inside the larva tunnels around eating away the underside bark. The tree will start to show signs of infestation including dead or dying branches and a mass of shoots coming from the base of the trunk.
If you have an infestation near by your home or if you just want to protect your trees in case of an infestation you can treat your tree with a systemic insecticidemeant for killing Emerald Ash Borer. Bonide makes Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control. It moves up through the tree from the roots to protect the tree from infestation. Another treatment is Systemic Tree and Shrub Insect Control and Fertilizer from Spectracide. Both of these products are mostly used as a preventative measure in fighting the ash borer. They may or may not be able to save a tree that has already been infected.
In order to prevent the spread of Emerald Ash Borer you should never transport fire would from one place to another. The beetle will travel on the wood spreading the infestation even further. Also if you cut down ash trees make sure to dispose of them properly. Contact your county for proper disposal information.