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How to determine if your tree has Emerald Ash Borer

May 23, 2012

By Susan Jongeneel
Media/Communications Specialist, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

URBANA, Ill. — Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has already emerged this year. To determine if a tree has been attacked, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Martha Smith suggests the following steps.

First, identify the tree. EAB attacks only members of the Fraxinus genus, or true ash. On true ashes, buds, leaves, and branches form directly opposite one another on the twig or branch. If they do not, the tree is not a true ash and the EAB cannot attack it.

The most common types of ash in Illinois are green, white, blue, black and pumpkin ash. Some names are misleading — for example, mountain ash is not a true ash. It is a member of the Sorbus genus, and cannot be attacked by EAB.

Second, start to look for signs of decline, starting in the upper third of the tree canopy. If the tree looks unhealthy, look for D-shaped holes about the size of a BB. Anything round or larger has not been caused by EAB.

If bark on the trunk is splitting, lift it and look underneath. Snake-like tunneling under the bark may indicate the presence of EAB. Young sprout growth clustered at the base of the tree may also indicate EAB.

University of Illinois Extension has a checklist that can be used for identifying the tree and determining if EAB is present. The checklist is available for downloading at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/. The document is also available from local U of I Extension offices. Because of the volume of contacts, U of I Extension will not conduct site visits.

From the May 23-29, 2012, issue

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