We knew it was only a matter of time before the emerald ash borer (EAB) made its way to our area and the reality today is that it’s here. I am beginning to see it in the counties I work in (Shawano, Waupaca, Southern Marathon, and Wood Counties) here in Wisconsin. EAB was also recently found in Langlade County and is well established in the UP as well.
The insect works quickly, starting at the top of the tree and working towards its base. It kills the tree by eating its tissues under the bark and essentially choking the tree off from its water supply. The DNR estimates it is going to kill 99% of the species. It doesn’t discriminate on the size of trees it attacks and has been found in sapling 1” in diameter. And at this time, there is no good way to stop it.
Clear signs that your ash trees are infected: Watch for new growth (epicormic branching) in the middle and upper sections of the tree. It’s a survival mechanism in response to stress; the trees shoot out new branching from limbs and the main stem of the tree. Also, if you see yellowing of the bark or notice woodpeckers working at the tree, these can also be signs the beetle is there.
If your property has any volume of ash on it, the time to take action is now. Why? Because once it moves in, the invasive beetle spreads quickly. And once a tree has been killed, it greatly devalues the lumber making it undesirable for local sawmills. What occurs often is that shortly after the death of the tree, the lumber is damaged from staining followed by insect boring into the dead wood further damaging it. Before this happens, it’s important to salvage your ash now and encourage non ash species to grow in our native forests.
Interested in talking to a forester about your ash trees? Contact our team today.