If you have an ash tree in your yard, the emerald ash borer should be something to be aware of. If you’ve never heard of the emerald ash borer, University of Illinois Extension has many resources available to bring you up to date.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees causing damage that will prevent water and nutrients from moving up the tree, and the eventual death of the tree. Ash trees can be infested with EAB for a few years before the tree begins to demonstrate any signs of EAB infestation.
The tell-tale sign of an EAB infestation is a D-shaped emergence hole in the bark of the tree about 1/8-inch in diameter. EAB is not the only borer infesting ash trees, though. A variety of native ash borers can cause damage to healthy, as well as stressed, trees. The difference is the emergence holes, which are either round to oval in shape from our native borers, as opposed to D-shaped from EAB.
Currently, 41 Illinois counties are under quarantine to prevent the “man-made” spread of the beetle. The quarantine prohibits the intrastate movement of potentially-contaminated wood products, including ash trees, limbs and branches, and all types of firewood. Ogle, DeKalb, Boone and Winnebago counties are within the quarantine zone in northwestern Illinois, with the threat of adjacent counties being confirmed at any point.
As a homeowner with an ash tree, your decision will be whether to treat your tree chemically or take the tree down before or after it’s infested. Extension has resources that can help you make that decision. The Master Gardeners at your local Extension office are available from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, to answer any questions you may have and to provide resources. They can be reached at the Boone County Extension office at (815) 544-3710.
The Illinois Department of Ag also has a website devoted to EAB at http://www.agr.state.il.us/eab/. This website provides the most up-to-date EAB news and offers many informational factsheets and additional websites.
From the July 24-30, 2013, issue