Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are You Down With EAB? Yeah, You Know Me...

Looks like the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, "EAB") is back and making its presence known in Virginia. According to this report at the Fairfax Times, an infestation has been found in Herndon, the first in Fairfax County since an accidental planting of EAB-filled ash trees imported from Maryland back in 2003. There had been no new sightings since then, so it is thought that the eradication that began the year those trees were planted was successful. That points to some other pathway as the source for this latest EAB find. A note from an invasive species listserver indicates there will likely be at least one other confirmed sighting in Fairfax County as well.

Fairfax County officials are asking anyone that sees dying ash trees or signs of the emerald ash borer to contact them at 703-324-5304, TTY 711.


John Scrivani said...

Tow independent discoveries of EAB occurred within days of each other. Visit Virginia Forests: Emerald Ash Borer Infestations Found in Fairfax County, Virginia
for details of the find by the Virginia Department of Forestry. Visit for more details from Fairfax County.

Unknown said...

There seems to be little information out there for homeowners who want to know how to protect their ash trees.

The most effective way to save your ash trees is to hire a licensed professional to apply a systemic insecticide that provides long term protection against this, and other boring insects. Products containing imidacloprid (i.e. Bandit 2F or Merit 2F), a soil applied insecticide, have shown to be 100% effective in saving Ash trees in heavily infested areas of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in Advantage Flea and Tick Control® for dogs, so pet safety should not be a concern, not to mention the fact that it is injected beneath the soil surface.

If preventative chemical treatments are not your thing, remember that healthy trees are much more likely to survive if attacked. Fertilization should be considered, especially for trees in the urban environment that do not benefit from nutrient cycling as fallen leaves are removed each fall. Lawn fertilizer is not effective as it is low nitrogen, contains phosphorous, and usually quick release. Trees need slow release high nitrogen fertilizer. Phosphorous is rarely deficient in soils in the DC area and has potential to leach out of soils and into the Bay.

As many people are going greener these days, organic and natural products are worth noting. Until biological controls are tested and become readily available, chemical treatment may be the only option. A foliar and bark spray of permethrin (i.e. Astro) is somewhat effective and natural. The only Registered Organic tree fertilizer on the market is sold by Bartlett Tree Experts and is called Boost Natural™. This fertilizer is phosphorous free and contains slow release nitrogen. It is injected beneath the soil surface to decrease the likelihood of runoff.

I am an ISA Certified Arborist and Maryland Tree Expert. I hope this is helpful to those looking for information about this relatively new pest.