Tips for Battling the Destructive Emerald Ash Borer

An Emerald Ash Borer is an exotic beetle that feasts on ash trees. Adult EABs nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. It’s the larvae that are more concerning as they feed on the inner bark of ash trees. This disrupts the ash tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. There are 1.45 million ash trees in the Denver metro area, with 330,000 of them in the City and County of Denver. That means about 1 in every 6 trees in the Mile High City is an ash tree. In other words, there’s a 1 in 6 chance the tire swing you loved as a kid is hanging from an ash and a 1 in 6 chance an ash is shading your house and saving you money on utilities.

That’s where you come in.

Don’t procrastinate. Early detection is key to managing the threat posed by the EAB, so don’t wait to identify whether you have an ash tree. And if you do have an ash, visually inspect that tree regularly.

Know what to look for. How can you tell if your ash is infested with EAB? Look for D-shaped exit holes, wavy trail lines, bark falling off the tree and Northern Flickers (type of woodpecker), among other things. For a full photo gallery of what you should be looking for, visit BeASmartAsh.org.

Develop a plan. So you have an ash tree. Now what? The short answer is you have two options: treatment or replacement. You can find out more about both at BeASmartAsh.org. The one option you shouldn’t consider, however, is treating or replacing your ash tree yourself if you’re not a licensed tree professional. A list of tree experts to help execute your EAB defense plan is also available at BeASmartAsh.org.

Who ya gonna call? If trees display any signs or symptoms of an EAB infestation, contact the Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR), Office of the City Forester at forestry@denvergov.org or (720) 913-0651.

Have a smart mouth. Talk to your neighbors, friends and co-workers about the EAB and what they should look for on their trees.

Buy local, burn local. Don’t move any firewood, and you won’t move any borers. It’s a rallying cry in the fight against the EAB if ever there was one. People unknowingly contribute to the spread of the EAB when they transport firewood or other products from ash trees, as EAB larvae stealthy survive and travel hidden under the bark. If an ash tree absolutely has to be moved, always remember the wood needs to be chipped smaller than one inch.

For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer and to learn how to Be A Smart Ash, visit BeASmartAsh.org or follow us on Twitter at @BeASmartAsh.