Ash trees are often a great source of shading for your property, which is why it is bothersome when those once majestic trees start looking a bit lame. Before you resort to hacking down your trees, consider what might be causing the damage to your trees. In fact there are four ways you can tell if an Emerald Ash Borer – or EAB – is the cause of your tree's demise.
Birds Have Come a 'Knockin'
Peck. Peck. Peck. Nothing is more frustrating than waking up in the early hours of the morning to hear a woodpecker pecking away at a trees outside your home. The persistent "knocking" noise made by their beaks as they tap it against a tree can pluck on your nerves. But consider the fact that the woodpecker is attempting to pluck out an EAB from your ash tree.
EABs will bore holes into ash trees, so they have a place to lay their larvae, and nothing is more tempting to a woodpecker than tasty EAB larvae. The woodpecker will use its beak to tap on the tree until it finds a hollow spot where the EAB may be hiding. Before you consider chasing away that feisty woodpecker, take the time to inspect the tree for additional signs of an EAB invasion.
One Hole, Two Hole, Three Hole, Bore
Now that your woodpecker alarm has roused you from your sleep, you might as well take the time to get a closer look at your ash trees. Carefully inspect the trunk of the tree for visible holes. Multiple holes in the trunk of your tree are often a clear indication that an Emerald Ash Borer has bored its way in.
Grab a flashlight and attempt to shine it into one of the holes. You might be able to see the larvae feasting on the tree's innards. If you happen to spot EAB larvae living in your tree, contact a specialist near you – such as an arborist – for assistance. A specialist from a place like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc. can confirm the presence of an EAB infestation and assist you in the removal of said infestation.
Looking a Bit "Thin"
Now that you have had time to inspect the trunk of the tree, look upward toward the leaves of the tree. Healthy ash trees will have thick foliage consisting of opposite branches. In other words, the branches will appear symmetrical. The leaves of the tree are known as compound leaves containing anywhere from 5 to 9 leaflets a piece.
If the foliage on your tree appears thin and sickly, it may be a sign that you have an Emerald Ash Borer infestation. When EAB bore holes into the tree to lay their larvae, it interrupts the flow of healthy nutrients throughout the trunk of the tree. Since the tree is unable to enjoy a full supply of nutrients, the leaves will start to thin out and die off.
Colorful Wings and Things
Now it's time to look downward. Check for signs of an EAB infestation by carefully inspecting the ground around your ash trees. If you're lucky, you will spot mature Emerald Ash Borers on the ground surrounding your tree. EABs have a distinct appearance thanks to their metallic, emerald green wings.
Adult EABs are approximately a 1/2-inch in length and about a 1/8-inch wide. Their bodies are usually a beautiful violet color, making their overall presence hard to miss. If you are unable to positively identify the EAB, you can always capture it in a jar and bring it to a professional for confirmation. Once you identify the EAB you can rest at ease knowing that you can cure the infestation and avoid chopping down your lovely trees.