Emerald Ash Borer Control

We have seen it coming.

Emerald ash borer is a destructive insect feeding on and eventually killing ash trees. It was first noted in Michigan in 2002, but experts are convinced it entered the US and began attacks years before damage was noticed. The years since 2002 have allowed arborists at Genesee Tree Service to follow the university and government efforts in each state involved, to learn what has worked to slow the borer. So when the borer was detected in NY state in 2009, GTS was ready to deal with the EAB.

Initial attacks tested control methods

In the first years after discovery of EAB in America, it was thought that the only means of controlling its spread was removing trees in advance of the beetle. Canadian efforts removing ash trees in a 10 kilometer- wide "suppression" zone in Ontario province proved ineffective as the beetle jumped the gap and moved onward to current presence in Toronto and Ottawa.

Insecticide use against the pest was studied for different chemicals and varying application methods. Results published in 2005, 2007 and since demonstrated a range of borer control success for insecticides applied by spray, root zone drench or trunk injection. Treatment became a proven option and changed views away from the doomsday messages of ash extinction publicized in the early years of the efforts.

A Superior Insecticide Approach

Arborists at GTS followed efforts in Midwestern states, and began preparation of a response before EAB reached New York's western border. Groups of insecticide-treated trees have survived even when under "insect pressure", surrounded by untreated, infested ashes. We saw in the university studies that systemic use of trunk- injected insecticides were equal or better controls than sprays or root drenches.

Trunk injection is superior considering:

  • spraying encounters problems with large trees, nearby buildings, parks or bodies of water
  • drench effectiveness varies with ground moisture, heavy (clay) soils and weather
  • trunk injection delivers insecticide to tree circulatory tissue without exposing humans & beneficial insects to chemicals

Genesee Tree uses the ArborJet "closed" system to deliver insecticide without exposure to air or soil. Injection through the trunk is by a one-way miniature plug that prevents leakage and allows healing through bark growth over the plug. From our study of insecticide trials, GTS chose emamectin benzoate, sold as Tree-Äge, as the best chemical investment for our clients.

Tree-Äge is superior in several ways:

  • Effectiveness near 100% as reported by US Forest Service
  • Provides 2 to 3 year control per injection
  • Chemical described "persistent in tree tissue, relatively immobile in the environment"
  • Outside the tree tissues, emamectin benzoate breaks down rapidly with microbial activity and sunlight, and is considered an insecticide compatible with integrated pest management (IPM) programs

GTS found the superior combination of Tree-Äge insecticide and application by trunk injection met our standards for environmental stewardship and performance goals for Rochester customers.

Emerald Ash Borer consultation

Genesee Tree Service provides complete Emerald Ash Borer services, including diagnosis, treatment, or ash removal. Consulting at your property, a GTS arborist will:

  1. Confirm ash species
  2. Evaluate the tree's health and signs of infestation
  3. Provide protection options & pricing based the number and size of tree(s)

Upon your go-ahead for protecting your trees, our NYS DEC-certified pesticide applicator will carry out the injections. If you wish to remove ash trees that are infested or threatened, GTS will safely remove them and properly dispose of all removed material. Our arborists will suggest replacement tree(s), if desired, then acquire and plant trees.

Treatment cost

Insecticide injections are priced based on the amount of liquid injected, as determined by the tree trunk diameter. Diameter at breast height, or DBH, is a standard method of expressing the trunk size at the height of an adult's breast. This measurement would be taken by our consulting arborist for each ash tree evaluated. Treatment cost would also vary depending on how many trees would be treated on your property during a single visit.

Preventive treatment needed before EAB attacks
Other insect pests may be viewed doing damage to tree leaves before a professional is called to apply a treatment. The emerald ash borer is hidden when doing its damage as a larva under ash bark. The adult beetles are small and hard to see when flying, initially high in the canopy of the tree. Your ash may be infested for several years before you see signs of trouble. Insecticide injections at that time will have less effect due to EAB damage already blocking uptake of liquids in the tree's circulatory tissues. Since early identification is difficult for EAB, management will need to be proactive, with improved success of insecticide treatments done before infestation.

Selected trees can be saved

Although few municipalities will elect to treat all ash trees within their borders, individual property owners can choose to protect selected trees. What trees to protect is a decision left to the owners. Genesee Tree can assist in providing you an assessment of ash tree health and cost to protect it through insecticide injection. Your decision can be unrelated to actions your neighbors or town may take with other ash trees. Injected insecticides have been shown effective in protecting trees under EAB pressure. That is, a protected tree can fend off EAB damage even when located in the middle of unprotected and infested trees. Groups of treated trees have survived in areas surrounded by hundred of trees that have died from EAB infestations. Protecting your ash when your town or neighbors do not will not reduce the value of your insecticide injection.

Use GTS to understand your options

Genesee Tree Service is ready to help you assess the condition of prized ash trees and present your options for protection or removal of trees now that the borer is in our region. Call us for your free consultation and see how we can beat the beetle.