Little hope of fighting ash borer

Q. What can I use as a homeowner to protect ash trees from the emerald ash borer? Some tress already show signs of dying. When do I use it?

Anthony from North Jackson

A. In general, we have given up on ash trees in Ohio. Yes, that’s sad. This shiny, emerald green insect is a good flier, and spread rapidly across Ohio and the eastern U.S., most of the Midwest and Canada.

Movement of firewood and other modes of transportation helped it move even faster. It is unfortunate that we have not been able to control this invasive insect that started its invasion near Detroit in 2002.

For prized trees, there are several products on the market that can be used as a treatment against the emerald ash borer. However, the decision to save one tree needs to be made based on the size of the tree, the value it provides to a home, the species and much more. This is because the treatment does cost money and will need to be done consistently into the future to protect the tree from infestation.

Trees that have less than 30 percent dieback at the crown are eligible for treatment and may recover from a proper treatment. Homeowners or professionals can do the treatment, but those treatments differ. Recommended products are either soil drenches or granular. Mid-April through early May are the most common treatment periods, but early fall applications are options. It is of utmost importance to read and follow all labels before applying these products.

A complete list of dates, products for homeowners and more can be found at Also, our collaborative website has complete details about the insect, what to do about dead trees, replacement trees and more.

The lesson we should all learn here is the importance of being vigilant when it comes to what is happening around us – in our backyards, in the forest, in the parks and other natural areas. When something looks out of place, let us know. It could be a bug that is different than you have ever seen; it can be a group of trees dying. Report it. Ask someone else if it looks out of place.

There are many invasive plants and bugs. It is important for our natural resources, our forest health and the health of our communities that we are vigilant and talk about what is out of place.

Many times, what you report may be something that is normal and natural. That is fine. It is a learning opportunity. But it is that one report that ends up being early enough to control a new invasive that can make a difference for us all.

Eric Barrett is the OSU Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Mahoning County. Regular hours for the clinic resume Monday. Submit questions to the clinic at 330-533-5538 or drop samples off to the OSU Extension Office in Canfield.

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