Minnesota is home to more than 1 billion ash trees. Many are in dense forests of black ash trees in the state’s wetter areas, but ash trees may make up 60 percent of a community’s urban forest, too. Sadly, a single beetle species is threatening the state’s entire population of ash trees, including the ones in your backyard or along your boulevard. Here’s what you can do to protect your trees and replace affected ones.
Emerald Ash Borer: Scourge of Ash Trees
The emerald ash borer beetle is an invasive species from Asia. The beetle lays its eggs in the living wood under the bark of an ash tree. While beetle larvae feed on the soft, living wood, woodpeckers wreak havoc on the hard, outer bark in search of a squishy, plump snack. Once larvae reach adulthood, they bore their way out of the living wood through the bark, leaving behind a D-shaped hole. This hole is one we diagnose an emerald ash borer infestation. The main symptom that tips us off to an infestation is excessive woodpecker feeding.
Unfortunately, tree species in North America do not have natural protections against the beetle and are extremely vulnerable to its tunneling. In addition to the D-shaped holes, infested trees will start to lose their canopies. Once infested, trees typically die within one to three years if they are not treated. If a tree still has more than half of its canopy, it may be possible to treat the tree with insecticide. But if more than the half of the canopy is dead, removal and replacement is the best option.
Ash Tree Replacement Options
If your ash tree is beyond saving, Urban Tree & Landscape can help. Our tree removal service will ensure your tree is removed safely and efficiently. We’ll also make sure we destroy the tree to prevent the spread of infestation to nearby ash trees.
If your tree is infested but not in its death throes, plant a buddy tree. The buddy tree will grow to eventually replace the canopy of your favorite ash tree. That way, you won’t experience a big hole in your urban forest. This is especially important if you have existing landscaping that relies on the partial shade your current tree provides. Exposing a beautiful shade garden to direct sunlight will eventually kill your plants.
Ideal species to replace your ash tree include Kentucky Coffeetree, Hackberry, and Gingko. These species provide beautiful shade and are hardy enough to survive in the bold north. We can help you source a healthy specimen to add to your urban forest.
Wondering if your trees are at risk of an emerald ash borer infection? Check out the Minnesota DNR’s map to discover if your neighborhood is affected by emerald ash borer. Then, schedule your consultation with Urban Tree & Landscape.