Anyone Here Own Any Ash Trees? How are You Preparing for EAB?

Growing up at my parents’ house, we never owned any mature trees to speak of. The previous owner may have had a couple of Silver Maples, but cut them down because he didn’t want to mow around them and because…well, they were Silver Maples. The only one close to mature was a Norway Maple, roughly 30 ft tall and growing near the power lines. But then it developed a huge split in the trunk and my parents cut it down. My parents still live in that same house and the Ginkgo, Northern Red Oak and Red Maples they planted are all about 30 ft by now.

So last fall (2011), when my wife and I bought a house on a corner suburban lot, you can imagine that I was pretty happy about already having 5 trees on the lot. We’ve been pretty busy since fall 2011 with renovating the house itself and with our 1-1/2 year old son, so it’s only within the last few weeks that I’ve ID’ed the 5 trees. Two of them, one 20 ft and one 40 ft, are Sugar Maples. Awesome, definitely keepers. The other three, growing in a row are Green Ash. Ugh, really?!

For those that may not be aware, Emerald Ash Borer is a bug that has killed 50 million to 100 million Ash trees and threatens the entire North American population of 7.5 billion Ash Trees.

So I did some reaserach on how similar tree diseases have spread in the past. It looks like roughly 4 billion American Chestnut trees once existed in North America. One in four hardwoods in the Appalachian region were American Chestnut. But then Chestnut Blight came along around 1900, probably from foreign timber, and virtually wiped out all American Chestnuts by 1940.

Similarly, Dutch Elm Disease came along around 1928, probably into Ohio from foreign timber. DED spread to Detroit by 1950, Chicago by 1960 and Minneapolis by 1970. Unlike Chestnut Blight, there are still large areas with American Elm populations. Winnipeg, Canada has about 200,000, probably because they spend $4 million annually to aggressively treat and protect their American Elms. But the fact remains that most American Elms have been wiped out.

Which brings us to the present day. Emerald Ash Borer was introduced into North America in the 1990’s, again probably as a foreign contaminant from overseas. Now, in 2012, 50 to 100 million of North America’s 7.5 billion Ash trees have been killed by EAB. If I had to hazard a guess as to how EAB will behave, I’d say it’ll behave similarly to CB and DED and spread and kill most of North America’s Ash trees by the 2030’s. Since I’m in southwestern ohio, closer to the “epicenter” of southern Michigan, my 3 Ash trees will probably get it before other trees in outlying areas such as Iowa will.

Which brings me to the original question in the thread title. If you have any Ash Trees in your yard, how are you preparing?

Judging from emeraldashborer.info, it looks like there are some treatment options available if you own Ash trees. They can be professionally treated every year or two with methods that involve drilling holes into the tree. The only DIY product they recommend is Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insecticide, but that runs around $150 a gallon! You mix 1 oz of product with a bucket of water for every inch of tree trunk circumference. My three Ash trees together have 117 inches of circumference, so I’d have to use a gallon a year now, but more in the coming years as they get bigger.

The only other household product I can find is Bonide Tree and Shrub Insecticide. But I can’t find any good information on how well it works. Its application method is similar to the Bayer stuff.

To answer my own question, I’m leaning toward just cutting down all 3 and replacing them, probably with Northern Red Oaks. We plan on owning this house for at least 20 years, and the trees would just get bigger, more expensive to cut down and more of a liability as time goes on. People don’t know how well treatments work in the long run, so there’d be the constant worry that the trees will be infected anyway. Not to mention that even the $45 a year for the Bayer stuff gets to be $900 after 20 years.

I can probably handle cutting down the two Ash trees on either end of the row. But the one in the middle is the tallest, roughly 50 ft, and the trunk slants obviously right in the direction of the middle of the house. So that one would be left to the professionals. I don’t mind cutting down and replacing the trees. Trees are things that don’t have to be treated and can instead just be replaced. Unlike, say a person with diabetes. But it’s a shame that large tree populations, such as chestnuts, elms and possibly soon, ash, keep getting wiped out. Because every time that happens, we lose a little but of biodiversity.

oak wilt is in eastern and central USA.

Not all american chestnuts are dead, my mum has one in her yard, a gift from the gentleman who was involved with trying to preserve them. It has been planted since the early 70s, but the poor little girl is all alone, so is popping sterile chestnuts =(

And if everybody cuts down their elms, then the wild elms will be all the ones left, and not being treated against the borers, and will cause a die off. Keep yours, and treat them so there is a pool of living elms to rebuild the species from.

Good to know that she’s helping to keep the species alive! If she wants any additional chestnut trees just for the sake of having chastnuts, it looks like the Chinese Chestnut is pretty popular. You have to plant multiples to get pollination though. Also, it’s not as tall as the American Chestnut and some purists don’t believe Chinese Chestnuts taste as good as American Chestnuts, but still pretty good.

I assume you mean Ash, not Elm. And what you’re suggesting is certainly the most socially responsible way to go. It just that when we go to sell the house in 20 years, it seems like potential buyers would rather see 20-year-old trees on the property that they won’t have to take care of vs. 40-year-old trees that they need to treat once a year just to keep them alive.

Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention - I had no idea that existed! Might have to make Tuliptree or additional Sugar Maples my choices for replacement instead.

So that is what is killing the trees in my yard. To hell with them. They are all probably 30 years old now. Time for them to go anyhow.

Living in SE Michigan, it’s too late around here. Wife and I were house-hunting in 2006; a house we almost bought had big beautiful ash trees for the entire length of the street, and now they’re all gone. At the house we did buy, a trio of small ash trees succumbed a couple of years ago. This summer I’m finally removing the last of them.

My wife works for the WI DNR. Currently she’s doing GIS work, but her primary training is in forestry and prior to her current job she worked on several Emerald Ash Borer projects.

We have a White Ash on our front easement. Madison in fact has quite an impressive ash population, it’s the primary tree lining the streets in many of our older residential neighborhoods.

EAB is definitely a major issue, but according to her, it’s far better to leave it unless it is showing signs of infestation or having other health issues. As stated upthread, it is in the best interests of the species to maintain as large a managed population as possible.

Obviously, the threat varies by region and climate. But that is considered best practice for most of the US, unless located in an eradication zone and trying to stave off the advance of the EAB.

Some further info here:

US Forest Service Info Page
USDA Info Page
WI DNR info page

The last is my favorite because the links on there read like some kind of dispatch from the front. It’s also got some helpful diagnostic pages to identify vulnerable areas and trees.

check with whatever state agency you have for natural resources. they will have information for diseases that are affecting your area and recommendations for new plantings in suburban areas.
likely to have printed literature as well as maybe a person to call.

That’s a shame to hear, but I’m glad it’s behind you and you can now focus on other things.

Do you know what Madison plans to do, if anything, once the disease gets there?

It’d obviously be better for the species to have any many alive as possible, but would it really be better for the ecosystem to either:

a) have a bunch of trees slowly dying from pests, or
b) have a bunch of trees being kept artificially alive by man made chemicals

versus cutting down the trees ahead of time (which admittedly would cause an initial shock in the ecosystem) and replacing them with trees that can live naturally?

Besides, if you cut down the trees now, you can get more value out of the wood for the logging industry. Think of all the shiny new baseball bats and guitars you could make out of the healthy wood, versus waiting for the wood to get infested with bugs, larvae, eggs, tunnels and holes. Madison could then get a head start on lining the streets with a new type of beautiful tree that they don’t have to worry about.

Thanks for the suggestion. When I go to Ohio’s DNR webpage about EAB, there’s a link to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

When I go to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s webpage, it says regarding Ohio’s “quarantine”, “The pest has since spread from the initial detection in near Toledo to its present confirmed distribution in 63 counties. Because the pest has been found throughout most of Ohio, including Wayne National Forest, there are no longer quarantine regulations in place for emerald ash borer within the state.”

Which leads me to believe that Ohio has decided, “we’re screwed anyway, so we’re not even going to try to stop you from moving firewood”. The page then goes into suggestions for treating the trees if you choose to.

The Green Ash tree in my front yard came down last spring (was cut down, it didn’t fall). There were holes in the trunk and main limbs that you could fit a baseball or even a softball in.

The city of Toronto expects that all Ash trees will be gone by 2020. IIRC, the number was about 200,000 trees.

200,000? That’s perfect! According to the wikipedia below:

"The largest surviving urban forest of American Elms in North America is believed to be in the city of Winnipeg, Canada, where close to 200,000 elms remain. The city of Winnipeg spends $3M annually to aggressively combat the disease utilizing Dursban Turf[20] and the Dutch Trig vaccine,[21] losing 1500-4000 trees per year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_americana

Toronto could institute a program to combat EAB, while Winnipeg continues their program to combat Dutch Elm Disease. You two could be sister cities, both known for having 200,000 living trees of a type of tree that is dead elsewhere. Canada could then be known to old timers as the place to go to relive the good ole days, eh! :slight_smile:

Oh no! We have a giant, lovely ash right in our back yard. We already lost a pine tree to the goddamn beetles, now this?

Yeah. I live in metro Detroit, and when I read the thread title, my immediate reaction was, “Preparing??? Whuh? Where the heck do you live?” Now I’m irrationally jealous and pissed that apparently huge parts of the country still have their ash trees. :slight_smile:

My mom fought a long battle against the damn ash borers, but had to concede defeat a couple of years ago. On the positive side, she kept her three ashes healthy long after the entire surrounding area had succumbed. She even had some people express the general sentiment of, “holy shit! You still have ashes! How??

My mom has always loved trees. Their lot is a standard suburban plot of 1/8th acre, and she had three ash trees near the curb, along with a Japanese maple and weeping cherry in front and a crab apple tree (that had to be cut down), oak and… Some other one that replaced the crab apple that I can’t recall offhand.

Damn, those ashes were beautiful. She had autumn purple ashes, which were amazing in the fall. They’d go from green to bright yellow, then deepen to gold, then orange, then bright red that turned to deep red, then finally to deep purple before falling off.

I’m in NE Indiana, and it’s pretty much too late here too. Last summer the city came through and cut down a bunch of dead or dying ash trees. You could see big areas where all the trees were dead. My street was hit very hard, nearly every tree had to be cut down. The trees were replaced with new trees (not sure what), but this year’s drought has killed off a lot of the new trees too.

Mom has one of the last remaining ash trees in the area, and it’s starting to die now too. I noticed the last time I was over at her house that the tree is putting up a bunch of suckers at the roots, and it has a lot of dead limbs. It’s gonna have to go soon.

If it’s any consolation, all 3 of mine have roots that stick above the ground and occasionally get nicked by the lawnmower blades.

Do you know what, specifically, she did to fight them? Did she use professional and/or DIY insecticides? Did she prune branches aggressively that began to show even the smallest signs of withering? Was her original goal to save her trees or just to keep them alive as long as possible?

I had all my ash (and every other tree on the property) cut down but it was because they were all old and rotten, not because of any bugs or disease.

We had to cut down our three when we bought the house; they were just too far gone.