How to Protect Your Trees from Emerald Ash Borers
Emerald ash borer, an invasive pest, has not been detected in Mississippi, but it is established in all surrounding states, except Florida. Without preventive treatment to trees, these pests can kill all 16 species of ash trees and white fringe trees. Photo by Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org,
Emerald ash borer larvae do the most damage by boring into the inner bark and girdling tree limbs and trunks. Photo by Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Do you have ash trees or white fringe trees in your home landscape? If you do and you love them, you should be on the lookout for the emerald ash borer.
This invasive pest hasn’t made it to Mississippi yet, but could arrive at any time. And if it does, all 16 species of ash trees and white fringe trees will be killed unless those trees are protected before the pest strikes.
Emerald ash borer is established in every state surrounding Mississippi and all other states east of the Mississippi River, except Florida. The nonnative pest was first detected in Michigan in 2002 and spreads primarily by humans moving infested firewood, ash trees, nursery stock, or ash wood products.
How to Protect Your Trees
Preventative treatments should be applied annually to the trees you want to save once beetles are detected within 15 to 30 miles of your trees. These treatments cost between $50 and $100 per tree each year and can be applied to the soil, injected in trunks, or sprayed on trunks, said Extension entomologist Blake Layton.
What to Look For
Larvae do the most damage by boring into the inner bark and girdling tree limbs and trunks. Adult beetles will feed on leaves, but don’t cause significant damage.
Affected trees can have one or more of these signs or symptoms:
- Dead limbs in the crown of the tree;
- Peeling and splitting bark;
- Yellow, wilted, or thin foliage;
- Unusual woodpecker presence and feeding;
- D-shaped beetle exit holes; and/or
- Shoots growing from a tree’s trunk, often with larger-than-normal leaves.
What the Pest Looks Like
Larvae have slender, white, segmented bodies. The segments are bell- or cone-shaped. They also appear flattened. You usually won’t see the larvae because they live underneath the bark.
Adults are small, metallic green, peg-shaped beetles about 1/3 to 1/2 inch long.
How to Know When the Pest is Near You
Check regularly with the local Extension agent in your county to see if they’ve been detected near you.
If You Suspect EAB Presence
Because the pest is established in all surrounding states, it could appear in Mississippi at any time. If you suspect you have seen emerald ash borers or any of the signs and symptoms in trees, report it to the local Extension agent in your county.
Extension Publication 3212, “Protect Landscape Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borers,” has more information about prevention, detection and management of emerald ash borer.
For more in-depth information about the clues that indicate emerald ash borer presence, read Extension Publication 2896, “Signs and Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer.”
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