This is the emerald ash borer

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 9, 2018

By Mark Martin

City of Salisbury ISA arborist

What’s eating your ash tree? Good chance it’s the emerald ash borer.

This beetle is native to eastern Russia and northern Asia and was first discovered in the United States in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. As of 2017, it has been found in 31 states, including North Carolina.

Is the ash borer in Rowan County? I believe the answer is yes, and we are just waiting for confirmation.

So, just another invasive bug? No big deal, right? The emerald ash borer has already killed millions of ash trees and although there are some protections offered for specimen trees, large populations of ash trees will be destroyed in North Carolina.

What can you do? First, don’t panic. Identify ash trees on your property that you are willing to save, then contact a company with a certified arborist on staff to evaluate and give you a quote on what it will cost to treat these trees.

Treatments are usually good for about a year, so figure that into your evaluations and plan accordingly. If a tree is already infested with the borer, it usually takes two seasons for the insect to kill the tree. Of course, if the tree dies, then figure costs for removal.

Although chemical treatments for your ash trees are effective, they could affect native beneficial insects, as well. Also, be wary of unscrupulous companies selling fake cures and remedies. As always, do your homework and research any company that does business on your property. Remember, proper management will help with this invasive insect.