Insects infesting Missouri ash trees
COLUMBIA – Ash trees in Missouri might be in danger this winter.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, tree pests called Emerald Ash Borers are spreading around the state. Currently, they have been confirmed in 42 counties and are suspected in 15 more.
“It’s a small, little half-inch long beetle. It’s bright green,” said Forest Health Specialist Natalie Diesel.
She said the bugs have spread across the eastern United States and have been in Missouri for the past couple of years. But the number of counties in Missouri is increasing, which causes problems for the trees.
“Ash trees will die within two to four years after infestation,” she said.
But there are ways to save the tree if the infestation is caught early.
Certified arborist Eric Martin said, “It’s an insect that is manageable in the landscape, but it requires use of pesticides on an annual basis to control the insect.”
Martin, the owner of Midwest Tree Solutions, said the simple solution is for homeowners to contact a pesticide company, but there are also some over-the-counter chemicals people can use.
He said killing the Emerald Ash Borers is important because “there are so many Ash trees in our landscape, and so those trees can be preserved with the proper care.”
Diesel said there are four key things people should look for if they suspect their tree is infested:
- Branch dieback in the upper canopy of the tree
- Blonding on the bark caused by woodpeckers foraging for larvae
- Splits in the bark on the lower branches where borer larvae have been feeding
- D-shaped exit holes, ¼ inch in diameter
The Missouri Department of Conservation website has more information.