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Tip from Maymont: Emerald Ash Borer Pest

(knocking)>>You might wonder
what I’m doing. I’m actually checking for
the soundness of a tree. We’ve been watching this
tree here at Maymont for a few weeks now, and now it’s time to investigate
to see what the issue is. This is an ash tree. And you may not
have heard by now, but I hope you have is that Virginia is being infested
with Emerald Ash Borers. Its abbreviation is EAB. And this is a beetle, you can see I’ve done a
little bit of chipping away, but it’s a beetle that actually
burrows underneath the bark in the cambium layer, which
is the area of the tree where all the action is,
where its life processes are. And I’m chipping away
some of the bark to expose even more of these
classic S shaped tunnels, which is the perfect way
of identifying that yes, this ash tree is truly infested
with emerald ash borer. Another technique to use though, is to look for the exit
holes of the adult beetle. This is an exit hole
that is round in shape, but it has a
distinctive flat side like the capital letter D. Another point to consider
is to looking at the leaves, you’ll actually start
seeing notches in the leaves where the adult beetles
are feeding on them throughout the season. And the tree’s response
to all of this stress is you’ll see sprouting
along the trunk. Another thing you’ll
see along the trunk are woodpecker holes
as the woodpeckers come and start actually
feeding on the larvae that are buried underneath. And finally, of course,
the most obvious, you’ll start seeing some
dieback in the crown. And that’s the very
first indicator that you may have a
problem with your ash tree. Telltale signs as I’ve
gone over, are very clear, but the life cycle
is kind of hidden. In May, the adult beetle emerges
through that D shaped hole and feeds through
mid to late summer. At that time, the female beetle
lays about 50 to 100 eggs in the cracks and
crevices of the bark. A week later those eggs hatch
and the small larvae burrows back into the bark underneath
to that cambium layer. They’ll actually
grow there feeding for the next couple of months until it gets too cold
and then they’ll stop. As the weather
warms in the spring, they actually pupate
into the adult form and come out of the tree
to start the life cycle all over again. At Maymont we’ve been having
a professional arborist inject our trees for
a number of years now, but we’ve missed one obviously. And our only course of action
now that this tree is infested is to take it down, remove
the wood from the site as well as grind the stump to totally remove any
trace of the ash tree to stop this cycle
of infestation. I encourage you to go out
and look at your ash trees. And if you have any
questions about them, contact your local
Cooperative Extension agent or contact an arborist
and ask them to come out and take a look at it as well. Because an ounce
of prevention here is equal to a pound of cure.

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