Emerald Ash Borer: A Growing Threat to Alabama Trees
Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is a troublesome pest that has been spreading across the United States for over a decade, and it now poses a significant threat to trees in the Birmingham and Huntsville regions of Alabama.
Ace Tree Services is committed to providing you with up-to-date information about EAB, its signs and symptoms, its spread, and available treatments to safeguard your trees.
Origins of the Emerald Ash Borer
EAB is an exotic pest native to Asia and Eastern Russia. It was first detected in the United States in 2002 in the Great Lakes Region and has been spreading gradually ever since. The insect is slightly smaller than a penny and has a shiny emerald green color.
Which Trees Does EAB Affect?
Primarily, EAB targets ash trees, as its name suggests. Recent research and observations indicate that other species might be affected, but ash trees remain the primary concern.
Emerald Ash Borer in Alabama
Although not officially confirmed by the state, EAB has arrived in the Carolinas, where it has caused devastating effects in some areas. The pest spreads naturally and with human assistance, such as transporting fire logs and lumber (now illegal to prevent EAB's quick spread). With EAB established in nearby states, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a significant problem in Alabama.
Protecting Your Trees from EAB
Fortunately, a decade of trial and error in controlling EAB in other parts of the country has given us a good understanding of how to help trees withstand an EAB infestation. Preventative treatment with insecticides is the best way to protect your trees. Ace Tree Services can recommend various application methods depending on the tree's location, time of year, and other factors.
What Happens If No Action Is Taken?
If left untreated, EAB can kill a tree within just two years. By the time the infestation is noticed, it's usually too late. The two options are to treat your ash trees for protection or plan on paying for their removal. Tree removal must be done using aerial lifts because the infested trees become too dangerous to climb. Preventative treatments are highly recommended to avoid losing a vital part of our tree canopy.
Signs of EAB Infestation
EAB typically attacks the top of a tree first and then moves down the trunk. Signs of infestation include large dead sections in the tree's top, increased bird activity (especially woodpeckers that love EAB), and smaller shoots emerging from different places on the trunk. A small, D-shaped exit hole in the bark is a telltale sign of EAB and is distinct from holes made by other pests.
Taking Action Now
If you have an ash tree you want to protect, now is the time to put a protection plan in place, as EAB is already affecting nearby regions. It's essential to correctly identify ash trees, as they can be easily mistaken for other species, like poplars. Ace Tree Services can help with ash tree identification and recommend appropriate preventative measures.
By keeping you informed about the growing threat of EAB in Alabama and offering effective preventative treatments, Ace Tree Services is dedicated to protecting the beautiful landscapes of Birmingham, Huntsville, and surrounding areas. Call an ISA certified arborist from Ace Tree Service at (205) 332-7757!