Does Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Work?
Let’s start with a lesson from the City of Milwaukee. Emerald ash borer was confirmed to have arrived in Southeastern Wisconsin, in 2012. Most cities decided to wait and deal with the problem later. The city of Milwaukee decided not only were ash trees worth saving, but the cost of cutting down and replacing trees from an outbreak of emerald ash borer would be extremely expensive.
So, Milwaukee mapped out all the ash trees it could find in its city limits. In all public areas, Milwaukee treated trees to prevent ash borer infestation. Now it is six years later, and Milwaukee still has almost all the trees that were treated…other Southeastern Wisconsin cities have lost almost all of their ash trees. These other cities have had an intense and expensive campaign of cutting down trees and replanting new trees…the damage has been done.
It turns out that treating for emerald ash borer can be up to 95% effective.
How do I know if my tree is infected with Emerald Ash Borer?
You can read our general Emerald Ash Borer page to learn more about the signs of infection. It is difficult to notice an infestation before damage is already being done to your tree, so the easiest option to know if your tree already has an emerald ash borer infestation is to schedule a free arborist review of your trees.
How is a tree treated for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?
Here is a rundown of how a tree is treated for emerald ash borer.
- The tree is inspected for signs of infestation or damage. If a tree has more than 1/3 of the tree damaged by ash borer, the tree has an unlikely chance of surviving and should be cut down.
- Any infected or damaged branches of the tree should be trimmed away.
- A pesticide is injected into the ground near the roots, or a small hole is made, and the pesticide is injected directly into the tree. The tree will draw up the pesticide and kill any ash borers that start gnawing on your tree. You can also use a bark or canopy spray, but we find injecting keeps pesticides away from people AND the product we use lasts 2 YEARS, while the sprays have a much shorter life (though spray may be appropriate if you have a whole bunch of the little bugs crawling on your tree).
That’s it! Three easy steps.
Can I treat for Emerald Ash Borer Myself?
The answer is “Yes, but…” You can buy chemicals at the local home improvement store to treat for ash borer, but home owners tend to have less success at keeping their ash trees alive. There are some common mistakes homeowners make when trying to treat for Emerald Ash Borer.
- Homeowners can’t always properly identify infected areas of a tree. Trained arborists deal with ash borer every day and can easily identify how to improve the health of the tree.
- Homeowners sometimes trim and prune improperly. Even if you trim your tree so that all the infected areas are removed, an improperly trimmed tree can encourage other problems in the tree that will shorten its life.
- Homeowners often use the wrong amount of pesticide or unknowingly buy pesticide that is not strong enough. Especially when it comes to larger trees, even a professional arborist needs to sit down and do some math to ensure the right amount of pesticide is administered otherwise it would be too weak or too strong.
If you treat your own tree, please be aware that different pesticides have different strengths, so do your homework and ensure you use a product potent enough to actually work! Most homeowners start with a pesticide that is watered down and they undertreat the tree so that emerald ash borer still infects and kills the tree.
When is the Best Time to Treat for Emerald Ash Borer?
The best time to treat for ash borer is now! If EAB is known to be within 25 miles of you, your trees are already at high risk. If you live in Southeast Wisconsin, your trees are at high risk of infection. You greatly improve the chances of saving your beautiful trees if you prevent infestation rather than trying to treat an already infected.
Even if your ash trees look healthy, get them inspected. (Side note, did you know we offer free tree inspections by our professional, certified arborists to folks in the greater Milwaukee area?)
How much does emerald ash borer treatment cost?
We wish we could tell you in the blog post how much it will be to treat your trees, but because treatment varies based on current damage to the tree, how big the tree is, and how many trees overall need to be treated, the only way to accurately know how much it takes to treat a tree is to get a free certified arborist inspection and estimate.
The good news is, treating a tree is much less expensive than removing a tree and you have the benefit of keeping your older trees to enjoy the larger canopy rather than starting over again with a sapling.
So, give us a call today to have all your trees inspected to ensure your trees grow healthy and strong for years to come!Get a Free Estimate