If your ash trees are not looking as lush and healthy as they have in years past, you may begin to wonder if they may be affected by the emerald ash borer, especially if you have read reports or know people who have had problems with the insects. If so, look for the following telltale signs that your trees are infested with borers.
1. Abnormal Growth Patterns in the Trees
One of the first things that may have caught your eye while looking at your ash trees is that they do not seem to be filling in properly. The upper limbs forming the canopy of the tree seem to be thinner as usual, with the leaves dying and falling off as soon as they grow in.
Along with the thinning canopy, you may notice that suckers have started growing at the base of the trees' trunks. Especially if you notice the combination of these two growth patterns, there are most likely borers living someone in the trunk between the suckers and canopy.
When the borers burrow into the trunk of the wood, they rob a tree of the water and nutrients it needs to create new growth and sustain old branches, which causes the canopy's leaves to fall. Then, as a ditch effort to survive, the tree will sprout suckers below the borers' location.
2. Unusual Shapes in the Bark and Tree Trunks
If you have noticed the abnormal growth patterns above, you should check the bark of each tree, especially any areas where the bark is either loose or missing. While looking at these areas, check for unusual shapes in both the bark and trunks.
On the bark of the trees, you may see a pattern that resembles a "D." If you see this shape, this usually means that adult borers have escaped from the trunk and burrowed their way through the bark.
On the trunks of the trees, look for squiggly lines that are shaped like the letter "S." These patterns are created by the larvae. If you had to remove any loose bark from the tree to see the trunk, you may even still see them eating away at your trunk.
If you notice the signs above, your trees are most likely infested with the destructive insects that need to be taken care of as soon as possible to prevent the trees from dying. Contact a tree service to have them inspect the trees and discuss any available emerald ash borer treatment options.