Emerald Ash Borer Tree Crisis

Somerset, Somerset County, New Jersey

The increased infestation of Northern Ash Trees continues to be a growing concern across the eastern seaboard. The Emerald Ash Borer is a Asia native insect that has recently been devouring Northeastern Ash Trees. One key indicator to screen for to discover if a tree on your property may be infested, is increased woodpecker activity on one, or a cluster of similar trees. Woodpeckers are the Emerald Ash Borer's preferred snack of choice.

Photo by USDA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

While the Ash Borer prefers to nestle in mature stressed trees, younger tees also remain susceptible to infestation, so having a Tree Expert inspect your property for unhealthy Ash should be the first step. Also taking extra precaution in ensuring that purchased wood-byproducts (i.e. firewood, woodchips, etc.) and newly planted ash trees are sourced locally is key.

Trees infested by the Emerald Ash Borer tend to have some, or all, of the following 3 telltale ailments:

  • A dying/thinning crown and/or thinning, wilting, yellowing leaves

  • The presence of excessive Woodpecker holes and/or "D" shaped Beetle exit holes

  • The sprouting of shoots from a tree’s trunk/root and/or the presence of suckers at a trees base

Adult Ash Borers lay their eggs on Ash Tree bark and when the eggs hatch into larvae, they Bore into the bark and suckle on the Xylem and Phloem tree tissue, which ultimately obstructs the flow of vital nutrients to the tree, resulting in girdling and death. Mature Ash Trees that are infested by the Emerald Ash Borer generally experience bark-splitting and die-back that can extend as long as three to four years before the tree actually dies, while Young Ash Trees tend to die within the first year or two, due to its inability to absorb necessary nutrients.