Three Signs That Your Ash Tree May Be Infected With Emerald Ash Borers

If you've got mature ash trees on your property, you probably really appreciate the value, aesthetics, and functionality they bring to the picture. Mature trees with wide, spreading branches provide cooling shade that helps regulate household temperatures during warm spells and create pleasant spaces to relax on a hot summer day. They protect your home from damage caused by strong winds, and as long as they're healthy, they increase the overall value of your home and add to the property's curb appeal. Naturally, you want to take the best possible care of your ash trees, and you're probably worried about losing them to Emerald Ash Borers.  

Emerald Ash Borers are small beetles that first started showing up on the North American continent in the early 2000s. They are believed to have made the journey from Asia via cargo ships. They are wood-boring beetles that have the potential to completely destroy a healthy ash tree in a matter of months. Fortunately, if they're detected in time, chances are good that your local tree care professional can save your tree. Following are three early indications that your tree may be infected with Emerald Ash Borers.

Increased Woodpecker Activity 

Because woodpeckers feed on beetle larvae in wood, a noticeable increase in their presence means an increase in wood-boring insects. This doesn't necessarily mean that the larvae are that of Emerald Ash Borers, but because this insect pest spreads extremely quickly and is very destructive once it gains a foothold in healthy trees, erring on the side of caution is recommended if you suspect they may be present. 

Crown Dieback

Crown dieback is difficult to discern in mature trees because you can't really see the crown from the ground if you're standing in your yard. Make sure to carefully look at your ash tree from about a block away on a regular basis. As its name implies, crown dieback is a condition in which the crown is dying back. 

D-Shaped Holes on the Outer Bark

Emerald Ash Borers create very small holes in the bark that are shaped liked the letter D. Carefully inspecting the bark of your ash tree once per week during the growing season can help detect the presence of these pests before the situation develops into a fully-fledged infestation.

You might also want to talk with your tree care professional about specific insecticides that can help with Emerald Ash Borer prevention, especially if you live in an area where known infestations exist.