Protecting Trees from Emerald Ash Borer: New Option to Help Preserve Ash Trees Quickly, Effectively

Rising May temperatures mean EAB will begin to emerge, New product can help homeowners stop EAB devastation before they must chop

May 10, 2010

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.—As May ushers in warmer spring weather, an extremely damaging and costly pest to Midwestern ash trees is close behind: the emerald ash borer (EAB). But with the increase in EAB activity comes a new treatment option, a product that can be easily applied and which will reduce the need to cut down beloved ash trees.

EAB has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in 13 states stretching from Wisconsin to Virginia, and the infestation is spreading at a rate of five-to-10 miles per year. A joint study by the U.S. Forest Service and leading university experts projects that EAB could kill 37 million ash trees in urban landscapes by 2019 and cost homeowners and cities over 10 billion dollars to treat or remove trees.

"Once EAB gets going in an area, it really takes off and spreads quickly," said Dr. Cliff Sadof, of Purdue University. "Most people's first experience with EAB isn't in the tree in their own front yard; it's when they start to see defoliation in nearby neighborhoods. The first beetle in a tree in a newly infested area can take three-to-four years to produce symptoms. Once signs of infestation are in the neighborhood the number of beetles flying around and laying eggs can be high enough to kill some trees within three years of attack."

The EAB is a small, invasive beetle whose larvae bores under the bark of ash trees, leaving tell-tale tracks of infestation along a tree’s trunk and branches. Depending on the size of the tree, an infested tree will usually die within two-to-five years.

Beyond pure aesthetic beauty and enhanced property value, ash trees provide an important ecological framework across much of the upper Midwest, including a number of major U.S. cities. In many communities, ash trees are being cut down to help prevent the spread of the pest. However, several insecticides are available that will diminish EAB’s impact.

Safari® Insecticide is the latest weapon registered to control EAB. It can be applied to the soil or as a basal trunk spray, and due to its unique chemical properties, is quickly absorbed into trees and transported to where EAB feeds. Safari can protect ash trees from attack, or help control EAB infestations before they cause serious damage.

“EAB does not have to be a death sentence for ash trees,” said Dr. Joe Chamberlin, regional field development manager for Valent Professional Products. “There are several effective insecticides available, and one of the newest products, Safari, has been shown effective at protecting ash trees from EAB infestation and can also help save trees showing early signs of infestation.”

Chamberlin said treatment is more effective if begun before tree dieback becomes apparent, and experts recommend removal of ash trees with more than 40-percent canopy dieback due to EAB injury.

“May and June are critical months for taking a stand against EAB,” Chamberlin said. “If you think you have EAB or know it is in your area, homeowners should contact their local tree or lawn care specialist to map out a game plan and look for treatments that can work quickly and effectively.”


Experts recommend the following tips for homeowners battling EAB season this year:

  • Be Proactive:
    EAB can spread extremely quickly throughout an area. Homeowners should check with local extension agents to find out if EAB has been confirmed locally. Many university experts are recommending a homeowner begin treating ash trees for EAB if the pest has been confirmed within 10 to 15 miles.

  • Burn Firewood Where Bought:
    Many people have unknowingly added to the problem by transporting EAB-infested firewood across county and state lines. Numerous states and groups have quarantined firewood from infested areas, encouraging people to “burn it where you buy it.” Bottom line: don’t transport firewood from areas known to have EAB infestations. Learn more about quarantined firewood at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/firewood.cfm or http://www.stopthebeetle.info/

  • Stop Before You Chop:
    Before assuming a tree cannot be saved, talk with a local tree care specialist or lawn care operator. It can cost as much as $5,000 to remove a single large ash tree, which is significantly more than a treatment program. Homeowners who can save their existing ash trees rather than replacing them can also reap environmental and aesthetic benefits. Some affected trees, even those with early stages of defoliation, may be saved with a proper treatment program.

  • Learn About New, Better EAB Treatment Options:
    EAB may now be treated with a basal trunk spray. Unlike trunk injection, which causes damage to the tree, a basal trunk spray is non-invasive and is simply applied to the bark on the lower trunk. Additionally, Safari Insecticide, one of the more recently registered products, is taken more quickly into trees, a feature that allows trees to be treated later into the season. This is a good discussion to have with your tree care specialist or lawn care operator.

For more information about Safari, please visit www.valentpro.com/safari.

About Valent U.S.A. Corporation
Valent Professional Products is the non-crop business unit of Valent U.S. A. Corporation. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., Valent develops and markets products in the United States and Canada that protect turf, ornamentals and crops, enhance crop yields, improve food quality, beautify the environment and safeguard public health. Valent products include a well-known line of quality herbicide, insecticide, fungicide and plant growth regulator products for professional and agricultural use. Valent differentiates itself from its competitors as a leader in marketing and sales of both biorational and traditional chemical products.For more information about Valent Professional Products, Valent U.S.A. Corporation or our full product line, please call 800-89-VALENT (898-2536).