Emerald Ash Borer and Your Ash Trees

You may have heard on the news that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is now in North Texas. Some of these reports will sound alarmist and are designed to generate fear and sell some services. While the report is true, there is no cause of for alarm and I encourage anyone who has an Ash tree on their property to take a little time to understand what this insect can do and how to control it.

Here is a link to the Texas Forest Service explanation of what the insect is and its effect on Ash trees: Emerald Ash Borer Found in the DFW Metroplex

The insect has been slow to move into Texas. This may be because of our local climate or it could be because Ash trees are not the dominant tree here, especially in North Texas where the forest is dominated by Oaks and Elms. The EAB has caused massive losses in the northern central US, killing millions of trees, especially in areas of mono-culture concentrations in certain cities. In North Texas, Ash trees are found along the creeks and lowlands and are not as widely planted as urban trees. The common species here are Green Ash, Arizona Ash, and Texas Ash. All species of Ash are susceptible to the insect. Even perfectly healthy trees can be attacked.

So, what do you do?

I encourage each owner of an Ash tree to:

1) Know what species of trees you have on your property and identify the Ash trees (all species of Ash).

2) Decide how important each tree is to the value of your property and your lifestyle on that property. Ash are not high on my recommended list of trees to plant, and if you have other trees, possibly the Ash are not as important

3) Contact a Certified Arborist and discuss with them what options are available for prevention and control of this destructive insect.

4) On high value trees, implement a prevention program once EAB has been confirmed in your area. So far, it has only been detected in northern Tarrant County (north of Ft. Worth). If it is detected in Denton County, we will post the information on our website.

If a tree is attacked, it takes 2-3 years for the insect to kill the tree. So, if the infestation is caught early enough, a tree can be saved. Prevention is the best course of action, but it is expensive as it must be implemented continually for as long as the tree owner wants to save the tree.

This is an “exotic” pest, having come into the North America via shipping pallets at a port on the Great Lakes. As with all exotics, it will run its course and a natural balance will be established that will keep the pest in check. In its native lands, many natural predators, etc. keep this pest at in a natural balance.

We at Tree Shepherds are prepared and knowledgeable to help our clients with this new threat to their trees. We have three ISA Certified Arborists on our staff. Please contact us at 972-317-9598 with questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our arborists.

Scott Geer

Scott Geer

Scott Geer has a master's degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.® He is also a graduate of the American Society of Consulting Arborists Academy.