Do you have a dead ash tree — or perhaps several of them — on your land? This is becoming quite a common complaint among homeowners over the past few years. While all ash trees die of old age eventually, formerly young and healthy ash trees are dying all across the country. Chances are, your ash tree has passed away due to an infestation of emerald ash borers, a highly invasive species of beetle. Here's a closer look at this pest, how it kills ash trees, and what you need to do about that dead ash tree on your land.
What is the emerald ash borer?
The emerald ash borer is a bright green insect. It's oblong in shape with a slightly pointed rear end, green wings, and a brownish-green head. These insects originated in Asia, but they made it over to the United States in the early 2000s, first appearing in the Midwest. Since then, they have bred extensively and spread throughout the United States.
Ash trees play a key role in the emerald ash borer's life cycle. An adult ash borer lays its eggs on the outside of the tree's bark. These eggs soon hatch into larvae, and they tunnel through the bark and into the tree's vascular tissues. There, they feed on the vascular tissue, which prevents the tree from transporting water and nutrients to its branches. The insects then emerge as adults, leading D-shaped holes in the tree.
Ash trees infested with emerald ash borers usually die within 2 or 3 years. Although there are some injectable insecticide cocktails that may save a tree, they have to be administered early — before most homeowners even realize there is a problem.
What should you do about your dead ash tree?
Since the tree is dead, the only real solution is to have it removed. The sooner you can arrange for this, the better. Emerald ash borers continue to infest and feed on ash trees for a while after they are dead, so by leaving the tree in place, you are helping to perpetuate the reproduction of these bothersome bugs.
A tree removal service will take down the tree and make sure the wood is disposed of safely, in a manner that won't allow the active bugs to escape and infest other nearby trees. You should alert your neighbors that you have a tree removal company coming to remove your dead ash trees. Chances are if they have ash trees, some of them are dead, too. You can ask about a discount if you and your neighbors have multiple ash trees removed at once.
It is sad to see so many ash trees dying across the country, but until better management tactics are put in place, the best solution is to remove the ash trees that die. For more information about tree removal, contact a local removal service.