Home & Woodlot Owners


Ash Yard Tree
Photo Credit: Mark Whitmore, Cornell University
What does a homeowner need to do prepare for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer? The first thing is - don't panic! The infestations in New York State are still relatively small, now less and 1% of our forests. You have time to plan ahead. The following are things to consider:


Know your ash trees.

Determine if you have any ash trees on your property. Measure their size and assess their relative health; this will be important in determining your priorities for management. Ash trees are easy to identify, brush up at Ash Tree Identification. Dead ash trees are a public safety threat, as the shed limbs. Don't leave standing dead trees near buildings or in areas frequented by people.

Know your property lines

Resolve any questions about who is responsible for a particular tree so decisions can be made. If you have ash trees in a right-of-way on your property (tree lawn, utility, etc.) be sure to talk to the right-of-way manager about their plans and what you can and cannot do with those trees.

Determine your management strategy.

You have three basic options for controlling EAB in your yard: removing the tree, treating the tree with insecticides for the duration of the outbreak, or treating the tree with insecticides until the tree can be removed.

Knowing how valuable your tree is will help you determine whether itŐs worth the investment of insecticide treatments. Check out the National Tree Benefits Calculator. It can be used to estimate the annual value of individual trees.

Know where the nearest infestation is.

This is important because if you have chosen to treat your trees you should wait until the Emerald Ash Borer is less than 10 miles away. Depending on the product used you will need to treat your trees every one to three years. You will be wasting your money if Emerald Ash Borer is not a threat in your area. For a map of infestations in New York State, see Where is EAB in NY?

Determine your treatment options.

There are no effective area-wide treatments for Emerald Ash Borer. The only effective treatment is the application of systemic insecticides on a tree by tree basis. However, not all are equally effective. Research the different insecticides registered for use in New York State and when application is warranted. For information on insecticide control options, read the Control Options page.

Not all trees will respond the same to treatment.

Young, vigorously growing trees are going to respond best to application of systemic insecticides. Large trees that have been repeatedly pruned or have lost large branches may have a compromised vascular system and may not be able to spread the insecticide evenly throughout the crown. These trees may still have large branches killed by the Emerald Ash Borer, and be aesthetically changed or even dangerous.

Consider removal and replacement.

Oftentimes, it is best to remove large or damaged trees. The long term need to treat trees and the associated costs may also help you determine whether or not to replace a tree. It is difficult to say how long Emerald Ash Borer will remain active in a given area, but experience from the Midwest indicates it can be 10 years or more.

You have many options for replacing your ash tree. Be sure to choose a tree to match your site and plant it properly. For more information see Tree Replacement Guidelines and Options.

Beware of guarantees to save your trees.

It's easy to save a tree if there are no infestations in your vicinity. Even with an infestation, it will often take more than three years for a tree to die. So beware of short term guarantees to save your tree. Work with reputable arborists who know about the Emerald Ash Borer and the long-term commitment needed to save a tree. Check the International Society of Arboriculture for professional arborists near you, http://www.isa-arbor.com. Learn why and how to hire an arborist at TreesAreGood.org

Know the signs and symptoms of EAB.

Monitor your trees regularly and report your findings to your local CCE office http://www.cce.cornell.edu, the NYSDEC at (866) 640-0652, or at http://www.beetledetectives.com. To learn more about EAB signs and symptoms, visit the Signs and Symptoms page.

Get involved in your community.

Help neighbors ID their ash trees. Become a part of your local EAB Task Force to help develop a Community EAB Response Plan. For more information, check out Local Task Forces. Also, learn about all the ways you can get involved in the fight against EAB. Go to Take Action! and find out more.