Protect Your Ash Trees: Spot the Early Signs of EAB

Protect Your Ash Trees: Spot the Early Signs of EAB

As tiny as the emerald ash borer (EAB) is, boy, it wreaks havoc.

This 0.5 beetle has killed millions of ash trees since arriving on the scene in 2002.

Back then, if too many EAB larvae burrowed in your ash tree, it was likely a goner.

Luckily, we at The Davey Tree Expert Company have learned a lot since then.

In his latest research, Anand Persad, from the Davey Institute, found a new method to detect EAB earlier than ever.

If spotted early, you can treat and usually save your ash tree.

Follow Davey Trees simple four-step checklist to identify early EAB warning signs.

1.    Fate of the State.

See if EAB is in your state by checking out the Department of Agriculture’s EAB map. As of June 2016, this destructive bug has made its way to 25 states.

2.    Identify Your Ash Tree(s).

Unsure if you have an ash tree?

Ash trees have branches and leaves with 7 to 9 eye-shaped leaflets that grow opposite each other. Each compound leaf has a terminal leaflet.

3.    Make the Break.

Healthy tree limbs break in the middle while EAB-infested trees have branches that break close to the trunk.

After damaging storms, check where your ash tree limbs are breaking. If branches are breaking near the trunk, seek an EAB consultation immediately.

Also, look for splitting bark, broken twigs and branches, a thinning tree canopy, and woodpecker injury. 

4. Treat 

If you spot these early symptoms of emerald ash borer, take action today!

Or if EAB is in your area, take advantage of Davey’s complimentary ash tree inspection.

Treatment of EAB may be much more cost-effective than having to remove a tree later.

Contact a certified arborist at your local Davey Tree Service office if you have questions or concerns about EAB.   

  • The Tree Doctor February 26, 2018 >Hi there, William. We would be happy to schedule treatment services for your ash trees! I have passed along your information to your local office, so they should be reaching out soon. Or, if you’d prefer, you cant contact them at (970) 484-3635 or online Here if you need anything else, William.
  • William Rogers February 23, 2018 >I’d like to schedule a spring treatment for my three purple ash trees.
  • The Tree Doctor February 12, 2018 >Hi there, Tim. We would be happy to give you an estimate for EAB treatment. I have passed along your information to your local office, so they should be reaching out soon. Or, if you’d prefer, you can contact them at (303) 449-2525 or online, Here if you need anything else, Tim.
  • tim trapp February 6, 2018 >can you give an estimate for treatment on 12-14" dia ash. in Boulder.
  • The Tree Doctor July 24, 2017 >Hi Ronald! From what you’ve shared, it sounds like you think you have an ash tree on your property that may need pruned. You can email us a few photos of the tree at to provide more information, and then we can make the appropriate recommendation. Hope this helps, Ronald.
  • Ronald Livingston July 20, 2017 >Ash tree ??? Prune other trees in the fall??
  • The Tree Doctor April 17, 2017 >Hi Janet. The best way to see if any of the trees on your property have a problem is to see them in person! I've passed along your request to your local office, so they should be reaching out soon to set up a free consultation. Or you can contact us directly by calling 317.759.5477 or filling out this online form here: Either way, talk more soon, Janet.
  • Janet Crosser April 13, 2017 >I don't know if any of the trees on my property have a problem. Let me know
  • Joel Dufour October 1, 2015 >I'm a landowner in central Kentucky, and we have LOTS of ash in our woodlands. Although we have been heavily impacted by EAB, I have noticed a very curious thing, which I feel compelled to share with anybody who cares about the future of ash trees in America....following is a synopsis: --Our ash trees started showing signs of EAB infestation 4 years ago (2011). --By last Spring (2014), ALL ash trees over 2" diameter on our 216 acre, mostly wooded property were affected (most were dead by this time, but a few did leaf out somewhat in the Spring of 2014), EXCEPT 9 trees relatively close to our house. --By this Spring (2015), ALL ash trees over 2" diameter on our property were dead, EXCEPT those trees around our house. They are still in fine condition. --Every tree around our house that has shown "resistance" to EAB has received light exterior "mechanical damage" from our cats using them as scratching posts. The "coincidence" just seems to scream that there is a connection. I know that some plants/trees etc. produce chemical defenses in response to external damage...and I think it very likely that perhaps this is exactly what is happening here: That the trees with damaged bark are exuding some chemical that wards off EAB infestaion. I am happy to send pictures if desired. I very much encourage you to pass this info along, to other states if appropriate, and hopefully someone in areas of the country where EAB is just starting to arrive can do some tests with "light mechanical damage" to unaffected trees, and see if it is successful in repelling EAB. It would be awesome if a cheap preventative like this actually worked on a larger scale. It sure seems to be working here...
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