The recent article we shared from the London Free Press, about London’s struggle with the emerald ash borer, was presented in a rather bleak tone. Far be it for CLC Tree Services to challenge the wisdom of the press, but we thought that you should know a little more about this destructive insect and what you can do to help protect your ash trees. While the emerald ash borer is certainly invasive, and its threat is being taken very seriously by the province, there are things that you can do to help save individual specimen trees located on your property. Let’s go on a bit of a field trip today, so we can tell you more about what you can do for your ash trees.
Ash Tree Injections
Today, CLC Tree Services was at the site of a 35-40 year old white ash tree. One of our arborists had already been out to inspect the tree, and today we were there for treatment. The home owner noticed significant leaf drop over the last four years. He fertilized and watered regularly, but to no avail. The next step was to contact an arborist. With a thinning crown, yellowing and sparse leaves, plus the tell-tale D-shaped exit holes in the bark, it was unfortunately easy to spot the culprit – the emerald ash borer (EAB). The good news for this homeowner, was that CLC Tree Services had an answer to their tree woes. It comes in the form of an insecticidal ash injection from the Neem tree, by the name of TreeAzin.
Curt arrived with a set of rubber gloves and a smile, to administer ash injections to the infected ash tree. After an introduction to the home owner, Curt went straight to work. He drilled small holes around the perimeter of the ash tree, tapped in nozzles, then attached the canisters filled with TreeAzin. The tree then sucked up the liquid, which gets distributed upwards throughout the tree. The whole process was quickly administered and done in the blink of an eye. As an extra measure to help the tree fight off the infection and heal faster, a fertilizer treatment was administered after the injections.
Normally, this lovely tree provides welcome shade to the homeowners, as they sit on their back deck admiring their landscaped yard. Curt’s plan is to make sure their tree canopy returns to its proper glory with this ash injection.
Here is what is going on at the heart of the problem. Borers lay eggs in ash trees, which grow into larvae. As they grow, larvae chew on the tree’s tissues at the cambium level. They weaken the water and nutrient distribution in the tree, thus leaving it vulnerable to other pests and infections. When the larvae reach maturity, they bore a hole through the bark, leaving behind a distinctive D-shaped hole. The adult EAB then goes to work on the tree’s leaves, decimating the tree from the outside as well.
Within approximately two to three years of symptoms appearing, affected ash trees usually die. In cases of heavy infestation, that time frame can be as little as a year. Curt has also found that trees which have succumbed to the beetles tend to deteriorate faster and require removal within a much shorter time period. Where you can normally remove a deceased tree up to a year after death, after EAB infestations that is no longer the case. Limbs from infected ash trees are so brittle that they pose serious risks within a matter of weeks.
The ash injections which Curt administered today though, effectively kill the larvae within the tree. They also affect the viability of any future eggs which are laid. In fact, BioForest (the producer of TreeAzin) claims that 95% of larvae are killed in the first year of treatment and of the reduced number of eggs laid, 98% of them do not hatch. That is very good news for the recovery of the tree. With three to four cycles of injections done every other year, your ash tree should survive until such time as the invasive species has moved on.
CLC Tree Services has effectively been using TreeAzin for the last three out of four years that BioForest has had this product available. We make a point of returning to inspect the health of injected trees a year later. Every time we see an ash tree bounce back from the brink of death, we know we’ve done the right thing. And while treatments might pinch the pocketbook, the cost of tree removal and replacement is usually higher. With an ash injection treatment plan, we are still miles ahead when our Carolinian Forest continues to survive and thrive.
How can you afford not to look into whatever options are available to you? Looking up at his beloved ash tree, the homeowner we met today felt that the price for saving his tree was worth every penny.