The Emerald Ash Borer - EAB
As you know, here at Graf Tree Care we are constantly on the gas pedal chasing down and destroying the Emerald Ash Borer. Saving 20% of our deciduous shade cover is serious business for us. In fact, we feel it is such an important topic that we have dedicated a whole new web-site specifically for EAB. It is our mission to educate, inform, and create awareness of this aggressive and destructive pest. Please check outwww.AshTreeCentral.com!
EMERALD ASH BORER
We would like to present some information about the Emerald Ash borer (EAB) that you might not have seen. We feel that there is evidence to show that this insect is controllable and it is not necessary to cut down all the Ash trees. First is an article reprinted from "Chicagoland Tree Care Advisor" then there is a link to a website where you can watch a video (video starts automatically) about EAB.
EAB: THE SUPER BORER?
When Emerald Ash borer (EAB) was discovered in Illinois it came as no surprise to us in the arboriculture profession. It had been in Michigan and Indiana; finding it in Illinois was just a matter of time. What was surprising was the reaction from state and now local officials. Although their attitude has changed, at first the state's position seemed to ignore the research that had been going on in Michigan that showed that imidacloprid was effective in controlling this pest. This is the same insecticide that was used as part of the program that eradicated Asian Longhorned beetle (ALB) in the Chicago area. Those of us that make our living in tree health care knew about this research and were puzzled by the state's seeming unwillingness to recognize this tool in dealing with this destructive insect. The state has revised their stand to include pesticide treatments although their recommendations are very tentative. Their review of treatment options is available through the University of Illinois extension service (Fact sheet, NHE-163).
Another concern when EAB was found was the possibility that the state would be demanding that Ash trees on private property be removed. This did not come to pass but certain municipalities are now tagging trees on private property for removal. It is understandable why a town would opt for removal rather than treatment for infested Ash trees on public land, money; they simply do not have the funds needed to treat all the Ash trees. Why can't they leave it up to the homeowner whether to treat Ash trees on their property?
Research (3 year study by Michigan State University Extension from 2003-2006) has shown the insecticide, imidacloprid, has been affective on Ash trees with 50% EAB damage. Although trees with this much damage may not be desirable, it illustrates that it does work. Why this is being ignored is a mystery. When Dutch Elm disease (DED) first appeared the only solution was removal of the trees. Now it is generally excepted that injections with fungicide can prevent this disease and can be used as part of a program to stop the disease in mildly effected trees (5-10%). Some of the same municipalities that do not want homeowners to treat Ash trees do allow them to treat Elm trees to prevent DED. No one suggests that we remove all American Elm trees anymore; the same might turn out to be true for Ash trees.
The reason given for the removal of all Ash trees is to stop the spread of EAB. The problem with this logic is that on the infestations that have been found it is estimated that the insect was present for 3-6 years before it was discovered. This means that the insect has had many years in which to spread. It also means that it is much more widespread than current findings indicate. Is this course of action really stopping the spread or is it already too late?
Another reason EAB is so devastating is that in years past some city arborists violated one of the cardinal rules of arboriculture, diversification. Simply put, they planted too many Ash trees. Now along comes an insect that specializes in the destruction of Ash trees and they are suffering for it.
Although it might seem like it, this article is not meant to be an indictment of municipal arborists. They have a very hard job to do, juggling limited funding with the demands of various groups and individuals. most of them are very knowledgeable, conscientious and hard-working. What I am trying to do is give homeowners some information on the subject of EAB they might not otherwise be getting. I urge homeowners to be aware of their options when it comes to EAB. Pay attention to actions being taken in your town that might limit your actions. Speak out if you don't agree with them.
I have spoken to many of my colleagues in the private sector and they agree with me. We all provide both tree health care and tree removal services. We will be kept busy by EAB but we would much rather work to keep trees alive than have to remove them. You can plant a new tree to replace the one that has been removed but you cannot replace the time it took to grow that tree to maturity. Instead of wiping out Ash trees with chainsaws, let's use our knowledge to give them a fighting chance by treating them.
Written by Chris Mest, Certified arborist IL-1367A
MORE INFO ABOUT EAB
There is a good website that deals with EAB in Michigan. That's where EAB was first found in the U.S. The website features the man who first found EAB. When you go to this website, a video will start up automatically. Follow this link. It presents some very interesting information on success in controlling EAB without cutting down all the Ash trees.
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