Emerald Ash Borer hits Winfield

Winfield and the Emerald Ash Borer – YOUR  ASH CAN BE SAVED!

Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer (aka EAB) has officially taken up residence in Winfield. This destructive insect was first discovered in western St. Charles in 2006. In 5 short years the EAB has now been located in hundreds of cities and towns all over Illinois. It is estimated that Illinois has 130 million Ash trees and it is known that all non-treated Ash trees will be dead in the next several years.

The EAB is a ‘boring’ type insect – the most destructive kind. The adult female is a metallic green insect which is about a half-inch long. Where it was once believed to only be able to fly a half mile it is now known to fly over 11 miles. The female reproduces and lays between 60-90 eggs on the bark of the Ash. The eggs hatch and the almost microscopic offspring burrow their way into the tree. As they grow they feed off the vascular system of the tree obstructing the trees ability to transport water and nutrients. It is important to know that an Ash tree can be under attack from the EAB for up to 3 years before any aesthetic signs of damage appear.  At that point, the tree will start declining rapidly. Homeowners have been told to look for ‘D’ shaped exit holes on the bark to help in identifying the insects presence.  In our opinion, from what we’ve seen in St. Charles, by the time these holes are evident for the homeowner to see at eye level, the tree is beyond help.

What can we do now?

Be proactive! Where once thought untreatable it is now known that EAB can definitely be controlled! There is no truth in the statement that even with treatment there is no guarantee that the tree will survive. If the tree is properly treated by a Certified Arborist who understands the insect, and a viable treatment is started before any significant damage has occurred, valuable Ash trees will be saved!  Our company has already proven this in Geneva and St. Charles in some of the hardest hit areas. We have clients calling us, overjoyed that they have the only live and flourishing Ash trees in neighborhoods in which every other Ash tree has since died.

One problem we find is that many homeowners don’t know whether they have an Ash tree on their property or not. Consider calling in a knowledgeable Arborist to evaluate your property and identify the varieties of trees that you own. It would be a shame losing a beautiful focal point Ash thinking it was an Oak or a Maple. Mature healthy trees can add up to 15% to your property value, therefore it makes sense to care for them.

If Ash trees are identified, treatment in Winfield needs to start now. We do not have the luxury of waiting until trees in your neighborhood are giving you a warning sign. The Department of Agriculture recommends beginning treatment as soon as the EAB has been located within 15 miles of your house. All of Winfield qualified the day the EAB was discovered in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn in 2009. But in most cases it is not too late to begin treatment.

Can a homeowner treat their tree themselves?  There is a product available at Nurseries or Hardware Stores called Merit. It contains the active ingredient Imidacloprid.  It is mixed and poured around the base of the tree in question and is absorbed into the tree through its roots. It flows through the tree killing the Borer. This product alone should work well on Ash trees with small trunk diameters up to 6 inches in our opinion.  We would suggest treating twice yearly – once in the Spring and again in the Fall.

Larger, more valuable Ash should be treated by a knowledgeable Certified Arborist. The Arborists ‘weapon of choice’ may vary from company to company.  Merit soil drenching (which is stronger than the hardware store variety) coupled with a trunk injection of another product also containing Imidacloprid has given us the desired results. Or, some Arborists have been trunk injecting with a different product called Tree-Age.

Not every Ash tree should be considered for treatment, as treatment can be expensive and would need to be continued until every Ash tree in the area has died and been removed. At the current rate of EAB activity we feel this will occur within the next 5 years.  Ash trees that are focal point trees should be saved.

Questions to ask yourself are….. Does this tree shade my house, deck or patio? Is it a sentimental tree having been planted by someone in the family or did it come from a relative’s property? Due to its size and location on my property would the death of the tree be devastating to my property? How much will it cost to remove my Ash once it dies and what will the cost of a replacement tree be?  And, most important, how many years will it take for a new, two inch diameter tree to grow to the size of the tree that could have been saved?

Again, if homeowners are proactive and begin treating Ash trees soon, they can be saved.

Craig Casino


Certified Arborist

Tree Green, Your Tree M.D.

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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