Ash Trees and the Insidious Emerald Ash Borer

“Ash trees can be a valuable part of the landscape. A properly cared for ash tree can increase property value, provide environmental benefits such as runoff and erosion mitigation, and reduce electricity costs by shading a home.” [Is My Ash Tree Worth Treating for Emerald Ash Borer? PJ Liesch, UW Entomology, Patti Nagai, UW-Extension Racine County and R. Chris Williamson, UW Entomology]

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Wisconsin offers an incredible amount of natural beauty. Watching the trees change throughout the year is always spectacular. Even bare winter branches can be hauntingly beautiful. Many of us get attached to particular trees where we live and in places we visit. The ash tree is found all over our state and in many areas has fallen prey, as you have no doubt heard, to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The following information is to help you identify ash trees, recognize signs of EAB infestation, and understand possible courses of action if your tree(s) is among those affected. Let me just say right up front that I am no expert in this area. It just came up recently and I found these resources to be helpful enough to warrant sharing with you.

Maybe you’ve witnessed city workers in your area marking and removing trees that are in public spaces. They won’t be leaving you a note about the tree in your yard. If you have an ash tree on your property, treatment or removal is your responsibility as a homeowner. Before doing anything, make sure your tree is actually an ash tree. Here’s an identification guide. O.k., so it is an ash tree, how do you know if it’s got the bug? Here are the signs. Please note that the DNR starts right off by stating the importance of looking for at least two signs of EAB.

If you determine that your tree is infected, removal might not be necessary. This link will help you determine whether treatment is an option. If it is, your timing is good (if you’re reading this near the time I’m writing it in May). Many of the treatments listed here are for use April-June. If your tree does need to be removed, please refer back to this link for more information on the appropriate steps to take with the infected wood. Of course, you don’t have to do all of this yourself. The information provided in these links should help answer any other questions you might have or lead you to the necessary resources.

Caring for our homes includes caring for our trees. It can be hard to let them go when the time comes. Knowing how to identify warning signs might keep them around for longer, bringing all the good things trees offer.