emerald ash borer

Poughkeepsie Takes Action Against Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is a green exotic beetle native to northeastern Asia that feeds on ash tree species. This beetle was first discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in 2002. Since then, the beetle has been found in at least 33 states. In July of 2011, the Emerald Ash Borer was found in Orange County, NY and within the same year, this devastating pest was later found in Buffalo, and Rochester. Over the last 16 years, the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer has continued to increase, and the damages they bring with them have continued to spread.

Poughkeepsie Mayor, Rob Rolison has recently announced that the City will be undertaking a tree felling program to remove ash trees that have been killed by the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer. This decision to deal with the devastation that the Emerald Ash Borer has brought to our area was based on city officials working closely with members of the Poughkeepsie Shade Tree Commission and the Environmental Cooperative at Vassar Barns to take a comprehensive approach to the management of the city’s trees. Rolison said that trees “are both visually beautiful and significantly contribute to the quality of life of our population.” Rolison followed this with an announcement that beginning this fall, the city will implement an ongoing tree inventory and management plan through a grant program by the DEF.

emerald ash borerThis invasive borer, when outside of its native range, is extremely devastating to ash trees and its devastation has created noticeable damages widespread in NY, CT, MA, throughout the southern states, the Midwest, and Canada. This species was likely brought into our country in packing materials shipped from Asia, as many invasive species are. The reason why these pests thrive and spread so fast in areas outside of their native range is because these areas do not contain their native predators like resistant trees, and parasitoid wasps that help kill them off.

These beetles are so devastating because they bore into ash trees, feeding on their tissues beneath the bark. These adult beetles then lay eggs on the bark of the ash tree and when they hatch, the larvae then also bore into the bark to feed on the transportation tissues. This boring and feasting on the tree’s tissue disrupts the movement of nutrients and water within the tree, ultimately causing death. The Emerald Ash Borer is spread naturally by flying to new host trees. However, this natural spread is limited to only a few miles. Where the problem begins, is when they are spread long distances from an infected area to an uninfected area (like through the transportation of ash wood). Within two years of initial signs of symptoms, most of the crown of the infected ash tree will die. Within five years, the trees death will likely occur.

Benefits of ash trees:

  • ash tree can be destroyed by emerald ash borerValued for its strength and elasticity
  • Often used in the production of bats, bowls, tool handles, etc.
  • Green ash is a valuable component of wetland areas.
  • Ash foliage and seeds are a source of food for numerous animals.

Since the Emerald Ash Borer is so devastating to ash trees, it is important to take a proactive approach to prevention for high-value ornamental trees on your property, especially if the beetle is known to be within 15 miles of your trees.  

Prevention on your property:

  • Spraying insecticides on susceptible and valuable ornamentals on your property is a great preventative measure.
  • If the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer is found on your property, or within close range, the best option in preventing the spreading of this invasive species, is to quickly destroy the affected material (EX: Remove dead or dying ash tree containing pest and burn or bury the wood after).

Ash tree signs and symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer infestation:

  • emerald ash borer symptoms Drown dieback
  • Epicormic sprouting
  • Bark splits
  • Woodpecker feeding
  • D-shaped emergence holes
  • S-shaped larval galleries
  • Beetle or larvae sightings

Read more on these signs and symptoms in THIS BLOG.

How can your Arborist help?

The City of Poughkeepsie and other local regions are beginning to understand the severity of the increased Emerald Ash Borer population, and are taking action. When it comes to your property, not only are ash trees beautiful, but they are valuable to your landscape, and make great firewood (IF they are not infected with the Emerald Ash Borer). With the presence of the ash borer close by, if you have any species of ash trees on your property, it is extremely important to put into place a preventative plan of action and care. Contact us today for your free consultation and let us help manage and care for your beautiful ash trees. If you suspect your ash may be suffering from symptoms of the ash borer, we can also help to eradicate and eliminate the infected source.