Save Your Ash of Minnesota

Save Your Ash of Minnesota (SYA) is the only Twin Cities based company that specializes in the treatment and cure of the Emerald Ash Borer Disease, commonly referred to as EAB.

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What is an Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (EAB) is an exotic beetle. EAB was accidentally introduced into southeastern Michigan sometime in the 1990’s in wood packing material imported from eastern Asia. It wasn't until 2002 that EAB was first recognized as being the source of ash tree deaths and its identity confirmed, by which time it had apparently become well established. The beetles are easily transported in dead ash logs and firewood, and despite quarantines on wood movement, this method of dispersal seems partly or mostly responsible for their rapid spread.

How to Identify Ash Trees

Branches and buds are opposite with a single bud at the end of the branch. Twigs are gray to brown and do not have a waxy coating. Leaves are compound, 8 to 12 inches long, 5 to 9 leaflets/leaf. Leaves may be finely toothed or have smooth edges. The most common ash trees planted in the landscape are white ash and green ash. Other native ash trees less commonly found include black ash and blue ash. Black ash has 7 to 11 leaflets and is found in wet woods; blue ash has 7 to 11 leaflets and distinctive 4-angled corky wings on the stem. White ash buds are paired with a leaf scar beneath the bud that looks like the letter “C” turned on its side. Green ash buds are paired with a leaf scar beneath the bud that looks like the letter “D” turned on its side (like a smile). Individual fruits are shaped like single wings and occur in clusters; many ash cultivars are seedless.

How To Identify Ash Trees

Time-line of States with confirmed cases of EAB

  • 2002 - Michigan
  • 2003 - Ohio, Maryland, Virginia
  • 2004 - Indiana
  • 2005 - no new reports
  • 2006 - Illinois,
  • 2007 - Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • 2008 - West Virginia, Missouri, Wisconsin
  • 2009 - Kentucky, New York, Minnesota
  • 2010 - Iowa, Tennessee
  • 2011 - no new reports
  • 2012 - Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kansas
  • 2013 - Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado
  • 2014 - New Jersey, Arkansas
  • 2015 - Louisiana

Minnesota EAB Quarantine Map

How to Identify an Emerald Ash Borer

There are many insects in the Agrilus species that look very similiar to the Emerald Ash Borer.

Typical EAB specimens of are a bright, metallic, emerald green color overall. The overall greenish coloration may also have variable amounts of brassy, coppery or reddish reflections. EAB is the only Agrilus species found in North America that has the dorsal surface of the abdomen bright metallic red. This may be the simplest diagnostic character for separating EAB from all other Agrilus in North America.

Detailed Guide to Identifying the Emerald Ash Borer

Damage Caused by the Emerald Ash Borer

EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees. A common misconception is that the adult beetles are guilty of damaging ash trees. The larvae are the ones that feed on the inner bark, disrupting the tree's ability to circulate water and nutrients.

Little Things Big Problems

The emerald ash borer is killing trees all around the Great Lakes and is spreading through the United States. Not only is it killing trees in National Parks and urban areas, it is threatening the lumber industry that provides ash wood for Major League Baseball bats. You can slow its spread by not moving firewood. Burn it where you buy it!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Signs That My Ash Trees Have EAB?

Signs that your ash trees may have EAB can be seen by increased woodpecker activity on tree, dying branches in the top canopy, sprouts around the tree base, vertical cracks in the bark, S-shaped tunnels under the bark, and 1/8-inch D-shaped exit holes in the bark.

When Should I Consider Getting My Ash Trees Treated?

Consider insecticide treatments only when your property is within 15 miles of an EAB infestation. For information on where EAB is currently located in MN, please visit the Minnesota EAB Quarantine Map.

Are Any Of My Other Trees Vulnerable To EAB?

In North America, it has only been found in ash trees. Trees in woodlots as well as landscaped areas are affected. Larval galleries have been found in trees or branches measuring as little as 1-inch in diameter. All species of North American ash appear to be susceptible.

What Happens To An Ash Tree With EAB?

The canopy of infested trees begins to thin above infested portions of the trunk and major branches because the borer destroys the water and nutrient conducting tissues under the bark. Heavily infested trees exhibit canopy die-back usually starting at the top of the tree. One-third to one-half of the branches may die in one year. Most of the canopy will be dead within 2 years of when symptoms are first observed. Sometimes ash trees push out sprouts from the trunk after the upper portions of the tree dies. Although difficult to see, the adult beetles leave a "D"-shaped exit hole in the bark, roughly 1/8 inch in diameter, when they emerge in June.

How Long Does The EAB Live?

Recent research shows that the beetle can have a one- or two-year life cycle. Adults begin emerging in mid to late May with peak emergence in late June. Females usually begin laying eggs about 2 weeks after emergence. Eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, and the tiny larvae bore through the bark and into the cambium - the area between the bark and wood where nutrient levels are high. The larvae feed under the bark for several weeks, usually from late July or early August through October. The larvae typically pass through four stages, eventually reaching a size of roughly 1 to 1.25 inches long. Most EAB larvae overwinter in a small chamber in the outer bark or in the outer inch of wood. Pupation occurs in spring and the new generation of adults will emerge in May or early June, to begin the cycle again.

Does It Only Attack Dying Or Stressed Trees?

Healthy ash trees are also susceptible, although beetles may prefer to lay eggs or feed on stressed trees. When EAB populations are high, small trees may die within 1-2 years of becoming infested and large trees can be killed in 3-4 years.

How Big A Problem Is EAB?

EAB is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. The scope of this problem will reach the billions of dollars nationwide if not dealt with. State and federal agencies have made this problem a priority. Homeowners can also help by carefully monitoring their ash trees for signs and symptoms of EAB throughout the year.

Is My Tree Worth Treating?

Trees have both a financial and aesthetic value to a property owner. Shade in the summer and the protection they provide in the winter reduce energy costs. A property with no trees will be valued less than one with trees.

How Will SYA Treat My Ash Tree?

SYA uses the Arborject tree injection system. An IV system is set up and the insecticide emamectin benzoate (commonly referred to as TREE-äge) is delivered into the tree's vascular system. All the pesticide stays within the tree. There is no risk of vapor drift, or of harm to children or pets. It only takes one visit to treat your tree.

What Are My Options?

  1. You can choose to do nothing and let nature take its course. Almost all ash trees in an infected area will eventually get EAB and die. Tree removal costs can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars depending on the size and location of the tree(s).
  2. If your ash tree is small, it may make more financial sense to cut it down and replace it with a different species.
  3. You can try to treat the tree yourself. there are some over-the-counter options available to homeowners. These are either a soil drench which required the homeowner to mix his/her own insecticide and pour it on the ground at the base of the tree, or a granular product which is applied directly to the lawn. These treatments need to be applied every year. Neither of these, however, are as effective as TREE-äge, which can only be applied by a licensed pesticide applicator.
  4. Hire a professional to treat your tree. (Recommended)

When Is The Best Time To Treat For EAB?

Mid-May to mid-summer is the optimal time for treatment for health unaffected trees. Trees that show signs of EAB infestation can be treated anytime from mid-May through mid-September, after which the leaves drop and the tree's vascular system slows down.

How Often Is Professional Treatment Required?

Although research at this time recommends TREE-äge treatment every 2 years, this could change as new technologies are developed.

Is This Treatment Harmful To Honey Bees?

Ash trees are wind pollinated, so there is no danger to bees.

My tree is already infected with EAB is there anything that can be done?

An infected tree can sometimes be saved if treatment is started in the early stages of the infestation. Generally speaking, if a tree has lost over 30% of its canopy it is probably beyond treating.

About Save Your Ash

Larry Elfelt

  • State Licensed Pesticide Applicator
  • State Certified Tree Inspector

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