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Davey's Ron Hegner (center) greets Pittsburgh's KDKA NewsRadio 1020 "Talking Trees" hosts Jessica Walliser and Doug Oster.

Davey Tunes in to Talk EAB Advice on Air

July 3, 2014

Haven’t you heard? This summer, Davey is broadcasting tree care tips live on Sunday mornings. If you’re in search for tree care advice, then turn no further than Pittsburgh’s KDKA, NewsRadio 1020 station every other Sunday for tree care tips and tricks. At 7:30 a.m. EST throughout this summer and fall, listeners can hear Davey district managers on “Talking Trees” to learn about different tree care topics for homeowners. Discussions include emerald ash borer emergence, how to plant a tree and ways to prepare trees for dangerous summer storms.

In a recent segment, Ron Hegner, district manager at Davey’s North Pittsburgh office, appeared on “Talking Trees” to share information about the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB).

He talked to listeners about how to protect trees from EAB infestations, how to care for trees that have already been affected and the ultimate fate of the ash trees. Here’s a deeper look into his conversation with KDKA radio.

Read below for the May 11 transcript of “Talking Trees.”

Q: First off, what’s going to happen to our ash trees in general in our area?

Well, hopefully people have been treating their trees to give preservation. For the trees that haven’t been treated for the last five to seven years, they’re in serious demise. Most of these trees are either dead or dying, and it’s going to come to a point that they have to be removed.

Q: So, let’s talk about that. That’s just a little bit problematic with an ash tree, right? If we are a homeowner that has seen an ash tree decline over the last couple of years, what should we be doing?

If the decline starts at the top of the tree, you will start to see the top of the crown start to die back, and it’s because the water flow has been restricted by borer activity in the cambium of the tree. It takes about two to three years for the tree to completely die. Once it is dead, it becomes very brittle and very unsafe, very quickly. So, you have to use a lot of caution when you’re removing those trees. If the tree has been dead for a number of years, it’s not even safe to climb the tree at all.

What You Can Do for an EAB-infested Ash Tree That Is Alive

Exit holes cover the exterior of an ash tree's trunk after an EAB infestation.

Q: What are you seeing when you start treating an ash tree? Are you starting to see results? Is this working?

Yes, it does work well, as long as, again, you start on it early on. There are a lot of trees that we are treating on which the success rate is good if you get started early enough and continue to treat them. We have been treating a large ash at Hartwood Acres. Unfortunately, they did miss a year. The tree is large; it’s right behind a mansion at Hartwood. It’s suffering a little bit right now, but we are trying to get back on course with that one and keep it going.

Q: I know that all the products you mentioned are not organic. Here is the deal we get stuck with: It’s a conundrum, right? These are the only ways right now because there has been no organic way that has been proven to effectively save these trees, so this is an issue that homeowners will have to face. Is this something that they want to turn to?

It’s really difficult, and you know, the thing is that many people believe that borer activity on a tree is stress related. In the case of an emerald ash, borers attack healthy trees, as well as trees that are not. From the organic standpoint, yes, you could limit borer activity on other species by keeping a tree fertilized, watered and just healthy in general. Borers are sort of the grim reaper of the tree world, and they come in and do the final thing.  This insect is not selective. If you have an ash, it’s going for it.

Suspect EAB has infested your ash trees? Davey can help you protect them. Contact your local professionally trained Davey arborist for a free consultation. We’d be happy to help!

In the meantime, tune in to Hegner yet again on the next “Talking Trees” segment on Sunday, July 6 at 7:30 a.m. EST! He will share reasons you should hire a certified arborist for your tree care needs.

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