COLUMBUS, Ohio Ongoing cleanup of tree debris following the September windstorm that swept through Ohio can be a good opportunity for property owners and arborists to check ash trees for possible signs of emerald ash borer (EAB).
An invasive, ash-munching insect that has now been found in nearly half of Ohios 88 counties, EAB typically kills trees within five years following the initial infestation. Only ash trees (those in the genus Fraxinus spp.) are targeted by this pest. The mountain-ash (not a true ash despite its name) is not susceptible to EAB.
Amy Stone, an Ohio State University Extension educator and coordinator of the Ohio State University EAB Outreach Team, said that homeowners, woodland owners and tree-care professionals should keep an eye out for signs of EAB infestation as they prune broken limbs or take down whole trees in yards and woods.
Outward evidence that ash trees may have fallen victim to EAB include thinning canopy and top dieback (damage from EAB larvae occurs from top to bottom); presence of unusual sprouts on the main trunk or base of the tree; D-shaped exit holes on the tree trunk and branches, about one-eighth of an inch in diameter; and increased presence of woodpeckers, which feed on EAB larvae living under the trees bark.
Other symptoms of EAB infestation such as the presence of creamy-white, one-inch larvae and the S-shaped tunnels they make as they feed on the outer sapwood require that the bark be peeled off to detect them.
A fact sheet with details and pictures of these and other signs of infestation is available at http://ashalert.osu.edu (look for Emerald Ash Borer Diagnostic Check-off List under the Factsheets/Bulletins section of the Web site) or through local OSU Extension offices.
Stone added that citizens and arborists should be aware of the potential threat of spreading EAB as tree debris is disposed of.
Also, because of quarantines that have been put in place to slow the spread of EAB in Ohio and North America, it is illegal to move ash trees, parts of ash trees and all hardwood firewood out of OhioÃ¢â¬â¢s quarantined areas. Additionally, its illegal for regulated items to leave the Buckeye state.
For maps and more information about the state and federal quarantines, log on to http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/eab/plnt-eab-maps.stm.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio States College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.