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Deciding Whether to Treat or Replace Your Ash Tree

All ash trees in Indiana are vulnerable to attack by EAB. After EAB arrives in your area, those of you who own or take care of trees need to decide whether to treat or replace ash trees.

Practical Considerations:

The decision to use pesticide treatments to protect ash trees from EAB should be based on some important considerations:

  • Protecting an ash tree from EAB will require a long term commitment of money and time because it will involve annual or biennial applications of pesticides.
  • The success of treatments depends greatly on the condition of the tree before treatments are started. Trees that are in poor condition for any reason  – site issues, mechanical damage from mowers and weed whackers, disease, other pests, drought, etc. – are not good candidates for preventative treatments for EAB as they may not be able to take up the pesticide well.
  • Success also depends upon the successful delivery of the pesticide. If the treatment is improperly applied, the tree will not be protected.
  • The yearly cost of treating a tree ranges from $20 for small trees treated by homeowners to several thousand dollars for massive trees treated by tree care professionals.
  • In most cases, ash trees whose trunks are over 20 inches in diameter at chest-height should be treated by tree care professionals. The cost of treatments increases with the tree’s size.
  • In time, annual costs of treating a tree may exceed the costs of tree removal. In some cases, removing and replacing an ash tree may be more economical than treating it with pesticides in the long run.   

Recommendations:

Based on the above considerations, we make the following recommendations for homeowners in areas where EAB is present.

If you choose to protect your ash tree from EAB with pesticides:

  • Begin preventative as soon as EAB is found within 20 miles of your property. It is always best to consult with a certified arborist or tree care professional to determine what course of action is best for your particular situation.

If you decide not to protect your ash tree from EAB with pesticides:

  • Leave ash trees standing until they are killed by EAB to allow them maximum financial appreciation before they die.
  • Replace ash trees that are dying from EAB infestation with a site-appropriate tree other than ash. Click here (PDF) for a list of possible replacement trees for ash.


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