The emerald ash borer is an invasive species of beetle that is infesting ash trees throughout the country and eventually killing them. While these beetles and the larvae that they lay inside ash trees are incredibly destructive, they are not always easy to detect, especially for homeowners who may not know much about them. But, if you have any ash trees on your property, it is very important to learn the signs that indicate that the emerald ash borer is present. There are emerald ash borer treatments available, and the sooner they are started, the better outcome you can expect for your tree.
Some common signs that emerald ash borers may be present in your trees include:
Yellowing and Thinning Leaves at the Crown of the Tree
When emerald ash borers infest a tree and begin laying eggs, the larvae develop underneath the bark. Eventually, the larvae will destroy the layer of a tree that is found directly underneath the bark, which is responsible for transporting nutrients and water to the entire tree. When this happens, the crown of the tree usually begins showing symptoms first. If emerald ash borers are present, the leaves near the top of the tree will begin to thin, and the remaining leaves will start to turn yellow due to lack of water and nutrients. If you see this happening on any of the ash trees on your property, contact a tree service to have your tree inspected and to begin emerald ash borer treatment started before more damage occurs.
Development of Shoots and Sprouts
When a tree can no longer transport nutrients and water properly, it will look for new ways to survive and move these things around. An ash tree that is infested with emerald ash borers and is slowly starving may begin to grow various shoots and sprouts in different areas. You may notice these shoots and sprouts around the trunk, from the roots, or around large limbs and branches. Do not mistake the presence of new shoots or sprouts as a sign of growth—they are actually a red flag that a tree is in trouble.
Increase in Woodpecker Activity
Woodpeckers are a predator of the emerald ash borer, and they will eat both the beetle and its larvae. If you notice a marked increase in woodpecker activity in your ash trees, it may be a sign that your trees are suffering from an ash borer infestation. Do not assume that woodpeckers will resolve the problem—they can help you notice the issue, but your trees will need to be treated to end the infestation and keep them from dying.