Solutions For Emerald Ash Borer
You must take steps to protect the ash tree BEFORE the EAB makes contact if you have any hope of saving that tree in the long run. You can hire a professional tree service or you try to do the job yourself.
Professional Tree Service – If your ash tree is more than 15 inches in diameter you cannot deal with the problem yourself; you need professional help. You should work only with companies that have arborists certified by your state government. A certified arborist has been properly trained and will give you a reliable and honest service. These companies, in the area where EAB is now present have tools and insecticides that have proven to be 80% to 90% effective in preventing an attack by the EAB. They can inject systemic insecticides in the trunks of ash trees to kill invading larvae and they can spray the tree to kill the adults. This service can be expensive, and it must be done every year in the spring.
Do-It-Yourself - If your ash tree has a diameter less than 15 inches, you can try to deal with the problem yourself. There are now two products on the market for consumers that will, if properly applied, prevent EAB larvae from taking over the ash tree l about 70% of the time. Tree and Shrub Insect Killer by Bayer is used as a drench around the roots of infested trees and shrubs, getting into the tree through the roots. Bullets by Bonide is inserted into the trunk of the tree or shrub and releases a systemic insecticide into the plant’s flow of water and nutrients.
Using Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Killer
There are three methods for applying this product to an ash tree.
Method 1 - Apply By Digging Holes
Dr. Dan Herms of Ohio State University developed a technique that makes use of Bayer’s product. Instead of just pouring the liquid insecticide around the base of the target tree, you dig holes in a certain fashion and apply the material in those holes. The best time to do this job is Mid-April to the first of May. It takes at least four weeks for this insecticide to move through the tree and give it protection from the EAB larvae.
Step one – Remove any mulch from the base of the tree.
Step two – Dig 8 holes approximately 8 inches across and 6 inches deep equally spaced around the trunk in a circle about 12 inches away from the trunk. Try not to injure the roots of the tree when you are digging these holes.
Step three – Mix the Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Killer with water according to the directions on the label.
Step four – You will be working with a gallon of insecticide, but the strength will vary according to the size of the ash tree. Mix 1 ounce of Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Insect Control per 1 inch of distance around the tree and place this amount in 1 gallon of water. For example: If a tree measure 20 inches around (measured at 4 feet above the ground) then put 20 oz of the product in 1 gallon of water and pour into the holes you have dug around the base of the tree.
Step five – Water in the insecticide with a garden hose.
Step six – Fill the holes in with soil and replace the mulch.
This treatment must be repeated every year in late April.
Method 2 - Apply the insecticide using the tree root feeder tool made by GroCor
Method 3 - Apply Insecticide As A Drench
Dr. David Smitley, entomologist from MSU suggests starting treatment between now and the middle of October, and then following up with another application in April or early May. Smitley stresses the optimal time for treatment is April through early May, and these springtime applications must be done annually to protect the tree from this deadly insect.
A soil drench is easy to do, and requires no expensive equipment. After mixing the insecticide with water, according to package directions, the liquid is poured on the surface of the soil around the base of the tree.
When applying soil drenches, I prefer to use a large sprinkling can as an applicator. I apply the liquid slowly while walking around the base of the tree several times. Applying the liquid in this manner assures a more even application, thereby giving the liquid time to absorb into the soil where it is applied, and it mitigates runoff.
Watering the tree well a day or two before the application will make the ground soft and moist, which also will improve the absorption and prevent runoff. If the tree is mulched with organic material, fluff up the mulch with a rake or a garden fork before applying the soil drench to loosen up any crustlike covering that may have developed.
When the application is complete, water the insecticide into the soil using a sprinkler or soaker hose that will gently carry the insecticide into soil.
Using Bullets by Bonide
Bullets is inserted into the ash tree, and begins working in four to seven days. You should use this product any time during the month of June. Holes are drilled into the tree to allow a tablet or “bullet” to be inserted with a small dowel or stick. The number of bullets installed is a function of the size of the tree up to 14 inches in diameter. Follow the label’s instructions. Again this treatment would have to be repeated each year in June.