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Emerald Ash Borer

Article by Ryan Myott on 08-21-2018

Emerald Ash Borer has arrived in South East South Dakota and has already claimed its first ash trees. What does this mean for you? Where did it come from? What are my options? How serious is this? These are just some of the questions I have been receiving as a licensed arborist and commercial applicator for Sioux Falls.

First, the Emerald ash borer beetle is from Asia and was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and since then has traveled through the Midwest with nothing stopping it. It obviously likes and thrives in this environment so don’t plan on seeing it stop with any form of remedy currently known. Now that the beetle has made it to us it’s here to stay. Even when it has killed all the untreated ash trees in this area its population will decrease giving us some relief but the beetle is here to stay.

This is very serious even if you don’t have ash trees. Even without an ash trees on your property you will be affected through increased taxes which in return increase the cost of many things in this area. The neighborhood you live in will also look different and for many seasons from Labor day to Memorial day you will hear chainsaw’s running all day. By the time the borer has killed all the untreated ash trees in this area it will be equal to a natural disaster. The reason for this time frame to cut down the ash trees is the city of Sioux Falls has a quarantine period to help slow down the transfer of emerald ash borer due to its fly pattern. Someday the city will be able to help residents with the boulevard trees but as of now they are swamped with parks.

For those of you that do have ash trees there are really only two options: treat or remove. Treating your ash is going to be cheaper in the short term but not in the long run especially if you plan to keep the same property for 20+ years because you have to keep treating every two years or more.

Some people may make the decision to do nothing until the tree is contaminated by the beetle and then look to treat or remove. This is the worse optionby far. If the tree is infested it’s more likely to become brittle. It may be deemed hazardous and the cost to remove will be more costly. If the tree has some die back from the borer and you decide to treat that’s ok as long as the tree has less than 30% die-back but still you need to consider if it is worth it because now you are sticking money into a ugly tree. If you’re a DIY’er that’s great. There’s plenty of info out there. Just make sure you know all the facts and costs before you dive into this, especially if you have multiple ash trees and if any are in somewhat dangerous areas.

Your best option is to be PRO-ACTIVE if you want peace of mind and want to save money. Have a local licensed arborist/commercial applicator with many years of experience (only a select few are experienced in this area) stop out to do a free consult with you about the best options for you based on your own situation.

Treating ash trees can be up to 99% affective if done by an experienced arborist using the direct trunk injections with the product Tree-Age which has the active ingredient Emamectin Benzoate. This is not your only option for treatment but it’s your best optionand longest lasting option; giving you a guaranteed 2 years of protection. Other treatments are less effective and only give a year or less of protection.

Please read this carefully! Knowing the options is good but the biggest decisionyou have is choosing the right arborist to consult with! Before the Emerald Ash Bore infestation Sioux Falls had only 6-7 licensed arborist that have a commercial applicator license and have experience with direct trunk injections (the best option). Now the city has a list of around 30 licensed arborist; not counting all the companies offering this treatment who are not licensed at all!

Take a second to think about this: How much experience does this person have if they are not licensed or just received a license? Will a tree removal company persuade you to remove a tree? Will a lawn company/ chemical company persuade you to treat?

Only a few companies like mine have been doing both for years. I really wanted you to read this section because I have already meet homeowners that have been ripped off and I have found some companies price slashing because they are using a product that only lasts one year but not telling the homeowner.