Five Signs Of An Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

The only way to prevent emerald ash borers is to treat your ash trees for the pests regularly. If a single ash tree on your property contracts the pests, they will soon spread to all the other nearby ashes unless you act quickly and schedule an emerald ash borer treatment. Know the signs of an infestation so you won't miss the cue to act.

1. Crown Dieback

The foliage in the crown will begin to brown and die back due to the stress on the tree caused by the feeding ash borer larvae. Initially, the dieback may seem minor, with fewer leaves or a thinner crown. Eventually, though, the outer twigs will also be affected, and the dieback will become more visible. The more severe the dieback, the more severe the infestation. It's important to check the crown for leaf loss regularly, as well as for stunted growth when the tree first comes out of winter dormancy.

2. Suckering

Suckering is when trees send up a mass of weak, whippy stems from the base of the trunk. This is a stress maneuver by the tree as it rapidly tries to put on new growth in the face of life or death. If your ash tree sends out suckers, take it as a sign that the tree is under stress. Although the cause may not be emerald ash borers, it is best to call in a tree service so that you can be sure.

3. Borer Holes

Ash borer larvae live and feed inside the trunk, which means they need an exit once they reach their mature beetle form. They create this exit by boring a D-shaped hole through the trunk. If you notice holes in the ash's trunk, particularly D-shaped holes, then you likely are dealing with ash borers.

4. Bark Splitting

The bark on an ash tree isn't perfectly smooth, but it shouldn't be covered in cracks and fissures. These are the sign of a tree in distress. Further, the feeding of the borer larvae loosens the bark and causes these cracks to form.

5. Ash Blonding

Woodpeckers are drawn to ash trees with emerald ash borers because the birds eat the larvae. Excessive pecking at the tree wears off the outer bark, thus revealing the lighter-coloured trunk. This is called blonding. If you notice increased woodpecker activity or blonding, then borers are the likely root cause.

Contact a tree service to learn more about emerald ash borer prevention on your property.