While trimming one of your favorite ash trees on your property, you may have discovered that it has become infested with emerald ash borers (EAB). Because you have heard that these insects can kill ash trees, you may be wondering when you should start taking action against the infestation. There are a couple of reasons why you should move rather quickly once you discover an EAB colony in your tree, especially if you want to save it.

1.  Infestation Can Spread Quickly Within the Tree and to Other Ash Trees

One reason why you should act quickly when you discover you have an EAB infestation in one of your ash trees is that the insects can multiply and spread quickly once they are established inside of the tree. While there, they feed on the water and nutrients that are meant to nourish the tree. If nothing is done, within a few years, the tree will starve and die.

Along with spreading quickly within one tree, the borers also spread among surrounding ash trees. As their population grows, the adults will start competing for food. Eventually, the adults will seek out other sources and take up residence in any ash trees that are within a few miles. If you have more than one ash tree in your yard, you run the risk of losing all of them once one is infested.

2.  Ash Trees That Are Half Dead Cannot Be Treated

Since an EAB infestation takes a few years before it kills the tree, you may believe that you have some time before you need to treat the tree. However, just because a tree is still alive after a year or two does not mean that it can be saved.

When an ash tree is halfway or more dead, it usually cannot recover from the damage and devastation caused by the borers. The tree needs at least half of its crown to pull and circulate nutrients through the trunk and branches.

If the tree is halfway dead, it cannot provide enough nutrients to heal itself, even if the borers are gone. In this case, the tree will eventually perish.

If you discover that you have an EAB infestation in your ash trees, there is not much you can do yourself to get rid of the bugs, as it takes specific chemicals and tree injections to kill them. Contact a tree service that offers emerald ash borer treatment options to have them evaluate the tree and discuss your options.