Denver will remember the Emerald Ash Borer beetle.
How do we know? Because the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB as it’s often called, is already leaving a wide swathe of destruction from Michigan to the mountains of Colorado. Cities across the Midwest are already seeing the effects of this metallic-green menace. As one example, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was home to over 800 ash trees that died because of the EAB’s impact.
Neighborhoods in northern Denver are seeing early damage from the EAB. Boulder saw its first signs of EAB infestation in late 2013. An arborist identified multiple cases of EAB infestation in Longmont in summer 2016. And now, it’s just a matter of time before the EAB hits Denver.
In case their name doesn’t give it away, the main target for Emerald Ash Borer beetles is ash trees. The Denver metro area is home to approximately 1.45 million (with a capital M) ash trees. With the EAB on its way, every single one of those trees is in danger. Whether you live in the city of Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree, or anywhere else along our south Denver strip, chances are your property is at risk of EAB infestation.
Ash trees in south Denver are ripe for attack. This imminent threat is so severe our Fielding Tree & Shrub Care already started building out a special task force for protecting ash trees, treating infested ash trees, and removing dead ash trees. If it sounds like we may be taking this threat seriously, it’s because we’ve seen what the EAB did in Chicago, Michigan, St. Louis, and so many more places working its way to Colorado. We want to be ready because those cities didn’t have enough time.
If you’re a homeowner in Denver, you may have several questions about the Emerald Ash Borer beetle and ash trees, such as:
- How do I know if I have any ash trees on my property?
- What does an EAB beetle look like? And, where did the EAB come from?
- What are the warning signs of EAB infestation?
- How long does my ash tree have to live if it’s infested by EAB beetles?
- What’s the best way to protect my ash tree from EAB beetles?
- Are there any effective treatment options for EAB infestation?
- How do I safely and quickly remove a dead ash tree?
Our team at Fielding Tree & Shrub Care know what it takes to minimize the EAB’s impact on ash trees in neighborhoods across Denver. We want to see your ash trees thrive, not just survive the next five years of threat. That’s why this article is designed to share ‘‘all things Emerald Ash Borer beetle’ with you so you have the information you need to keep your ash trees healthy and happy.
How to Tell If You Have Ash Trees on Your Property
Before we go any further, you may want to know if your property is even at risk. If there are no ash trees on your property, that’s great news! The most common species of ash found in Colorado is the Singleleaf Ash.
Singleleaf Trees (frazinus anomala)
- Bark: Thin and dark-brown in color, marked by narrow ridges that have reddish hues in color.
- Leaves: Single and rounded, one to two inches long, with smooth margins and a slight ‘sawtoothed’ appearance on the edges.
- Fruit: Typically has a one-seed samara (seed pod) that can grow up to one inch long and half-an-inch wide. The fruit typically has a small notch at the end.
- Elevation: Up to 7,000 feet.
- Height: Up to 25 feet.
- Habitat: Often in more arid climates and by streambeds.
- Relation to Fire: More resistant to fire damage, but can quickly take spark during drier conditions.
A certified arborist can also verify the species of all the trees on your property to ensure a non-native species of ash is growing.
Emerald Ash Borer Beetles 101
When you think of the EAB and its appetite for ash trees, you may imagine a giant beetle with a mouth big enough to swallow a whole tree. Of course, that’s just our imagination, but you may be surprised at how small the Emerald Ash Borer beetle actually is. So, what does it look like? Where did the EAB beetle come from? Let’s get to know our new nemesis in Denver.
The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is native to China, but at least a few made their way overseas to Michigan, most likely through ash wood packaging material. The infestation in Michigan quickly spread to the surrounding Great Lakes states and into Canada. It wasn’t long before the EAB started heading southwest into the Plains states and toward the Rocky Mountains. Here is a map showing the reported infestation area of the EAB across the U.S. and Canada.
According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the EAB adult beetle is often misidentified as Japanese beetles, a six-spotted Tiger Beetle, or a two-lined Chestnut Borer. So, what does the EAB look like? For starters, the adult beetles have a metallic green sheen to their wings and measure approximately half-an-inch long. They typically have a flattened back with dark gray or purple-ish areas under their wing covers on their abdomen.
EAB larvae are a creamy white color without any legs. An EAB larvae’s body is usually segmented into flat, bell-like sections. The larvae are most often found under the bark of ash trees. The larvae leave S-shaped tunnels under the bark that leave D-shaped exit holes out of the bark.
What the Warning Signs of EAB Infestation?
As mentioned before, if you see an EAB beetle or larvae tunnels in your ash tree’s bark, your tree is obviously infested. However, there are several other warning signs of EAB infestation that are easier to miss.
A dying canopy on an ash tree may be a sign the tree’s vascular system is compromised due to Emerald Ash Borer beetle infestation. Another warning sign may be branches breaking close to the trunk of the tree. Healthy branches often break in the middle of the branch, but if your ash tree has a broken branch, check to see where the break occurred.
Bark that’s splintering and peeling away from your ash tree is another common sign of EAB infestation. It means the larvae has effectively separated the bark from the trunk by tunneling. Increased interest from woodpeckers may be a sign of EAB infestation because the woodpecker can sense the EAB larvae living just under the bark.
The most unusual sign of EAB infestation is what we call epicormic shoots. These are the short, new shoots that grow at the base of a tree. Many homeowners see epicormic shoots as simply wild growth and trim back the shoots for a clean look. In the case of ash trees, epicormic shoots may be a sign the tree knows its clock is ticking and wants to send all its energy into growing essentially a new tree.
How Long Do Ash Trees Live After EAB Infestation?
An ash tree infested with Emerald Ash Borer beetles typically has between three to five years to live. That’s how long it takes for the adult beetles and larvae to complete multiple growth cycles and consume massive quantities of the tree’s interior.
What’s the Best Protection for Ash Trees Against EAB Infestation?
Unfortunately, there’s a ton of misinformation about EAB treatments and whether they work. Our Fielding Tree Care team chooses to use ArborMectin in safe recommended dosages because it’s injected directly into the trunk or soil instead of airborne. ArborMectin trunk and soil injections help fight off EAB infestations with up to a two-year potency to protect against the Emerald Ash Borer.
We know ArborMectin is 100% effective for preventing EAB infestation for ash trees across the Denver area. What if an ash tree is already infected with Emerald Ash Borer beetles? ArborMectin will stop the EAB infestation in its tracks and help save the tree. Read more about ArborMectin’s effectiveness against EAB infestation here.
As with all of our tree and shrub treatments, we only use safe, proven treatments in their recommended applications. Our team of certified arborists know what is recommended and proven to work and apply our treatments in a way that protects you, your loved ones, and your fur babies.
The best step you can take to prevent EAB infestation of your ash trees is to schedule your free on-site inspection. One of our Fielding Tree certified arborists can come to your location, inspect your tree, and provide customized insight based on your property’s placement and layout.
How to Safely and Quickly Remove Dead Ash Trees
The reality is your ash tree will die eventually, whether it’s by way of EAB infestation or because of a long and healthy life-cycle. It breaks our hearts when we see dead trees, but we know our work is designed to keep and your property safe and happy. That’s why removing dead ash trees require proper equipment and expert tree removal care.
Our Fielding Tree & Shrub Care team has the appropriate equipment and training to make removing dead ash trees a science. We follow safety procedures and take every precaution to ensure your experience is as ‘boring’ as possible. Whether your ash tree needs a little ‘haircut’ or even if it’s dead and needs to be removed, we will treat your tree and your property with the utmost respect. That’s why we’re Denver’s favorite arborist.
If you need help protecting, treating, or removing your ash trees, schedule your free on-site estimate with our team today.