In the article that we shared yesterday from the London Free Press, about London’s struggle with the emerald ash borer, we felt that things were presented in a rather bleak tone. Now far be it for us at 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 can be done 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.
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, and had attempted fertilizing and ample watering to rectify the problem. When that failed to resolve the issues, the home owner contacted a few arborists to diagnose the problem. 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 and 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 on this humid morning. After being introduced 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 then administered following 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 was to ensure that their tree canopy is returned to its proper glory with this ash injection.
Here is what is going on at the heart of the problem. 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 being noticed, the ash tree will die. In cases of heavy infestation, that time frame can be as little as a year. Curt has also found that trees that have succumbed to the beetles tend to deteriorate faster and require removal within a much shorter time period. Where normal removal of a deceased tree can be done up to a year after death, after EAB infestations limbs are so brittle that they pose serious risks within a matter of weeks.
The ash injections that Curt administered today though, effectively kills the larvae that are within the tree, and has also been shown to affect the viability of any future eggs that 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, and with three to four cycles of injections done every other year, your ash tree should survive until such time as the nasty little pests have 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 the following year and are thrilled every time we see an ash tree bouncing back from the brink of death. We realize that treatments cost money, but with the cost of tree removal and replacement, we figure that we are still out 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.