But First a little background information

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an insect native to China and eastern Asia.  Its larvae kill ash trees.  The EAB's first appearance in North America occurred in 2002 when it was discovered in the Detroit area.  As of 2018 it has devastated most of Michigan's ash trees and infested virtually all parts of Indiana and Ohio.   Large parts of every state from Massachusetts to Iowa and from Wisconsin to North Carolina have EAB infestations.

The EAB arrived in Polk County, Iowa in 2015.  Based on how fast the EAB epidemic has been spreading and how long it takes infected trees to die, I (the owner of Ash Tree Preservation) predict 99% of all untreated ash trees in Metro Des Moines, Iowa will be dead by 2022.  Now is the time to take action.  The best way to preserve ash trees is to treat them with an appropriate insecticide.

An ash tree one year after the first signs of EAB infection.
An ash tree one year after the first signs of EAB infection.

Why Save Your Ash Trees

Trees have value.  They provided beauty and shade.  Their shade can save you money on air conditioning.  Trees also capture carbon dioxide and help reduce stormwater runoff.  And then there are the special trees—the ones with swings hanging from their branches or the ones planted by a loved one.

If you're wondering whether emerald ash borer treatments are worth it, we suggest visiting the Tree Benefit Calculator website or this ISU extension webpage.  These web resources can help you determine the economic value of your trees.

It's not unusual for a tree to provide a homeowner more then $75 per year in benefits due to reduced energy costs and increased property values, yet only cost $65 dollars per year to maintain.  As you use the calculator, please keep in mind it doesn't take into account your personal feelings about a particular tree, nor how much it would cost to remove it and grind the stump, should you decided to cut it down. For your convenience, here's a link to a cost calculator for tree removal. We also recommend taking into account the cost of installing a replacement tree.  It's not unusual to pay between $100 and $250 to install a 6-foot tall tree.  Larger trees, rare trees, and slow-growing species cost more.

Learn More - Investing in Treatments

How to save your Ash Trees

The quick answer is of course to call, text, or email Ash Tree Preservation.  Click here for our contact info.

The following, more-lengthy answer explains how we go about saving ash trees.  We use the safest, most effective method currently available. We inject the insecticide emamectin benzoate (EB) into the tree's cambium layer.  The cambium layer is a thin layer of cells between the tree's bark and its sapwood.  By injecting inside the bark, we restrict EB from contaminating the environment. The other treatment method for controlling emerald ash borers involves drenching the soil around the tree with a neo-nicotinoid pesticide.  This method puts a lot of chemical into the surrounding environment where it can harm non-target species.   EB is a modern pesticide that slowly degrades into non-toxic compounds.  Our treatments provide 2-years of protection.

Learn More - Identifying Ash Trees

when to save your ash trees

The best time of year to have your ash trees treated is during their growing season.  In Central Iowa that means as early as April 25 and as late as October 15.  Be sure to have your trees re-treated every other year. The insecticide we use provides 2-years of protection.

It's also very important to have your trees treated before the emerald ash borer (EAB) infects them.  The Iowa DNR recommends the preventative treatment of ash trees once the EAB has been confirmed within 15 miles of a community.  Get to know the symptoms of an emerald ash borer infection.

Infected ash trees die from the top, down.  If you see that the top 1/3 of your tree's canopy is dying, then you still might be able to save the tree.  Just realize that the dead branches will stay dead, and the sick ones still might die.  If more than 1/3 of your tree's canopy is dead or dying, then we recommend you have your tree taken down as soon as possible.

Tree removal companies usually charge more to take down a dead tree than a live one, partly because dead trees are more dangerous.  As a rule of thumb, a medium size ash tree (50-feet tall) in a front yard will cost in the neighborhood of $750 to $850 to remove and another $100 to have the stump ground down.  That same tree when it's dead would likely cost $1,000 to remove.  If the dead ash tree is in your back yard and inaccessible to a bucket-lift, add at least another $500. Dead ash trees are very brittle, which is why they're so dangerous.

Learn More - Dead Tree Danger

Next Steps...

Do you have questions about emerald ash borer symptoms?  We offer free advice, free inspections, and free estimates.  Give us a call.  Drop us a line.  We look forward to hearing from you!