Is the treatment for Emerald Ash Borer killing our Ash tree?
August 3, 2014 12:18 PM   Subscribe

We asked certified arborist from a reputable company assess the health of a very large ash tree in our backyard. He said the tree was "very healthy" but that we would soon need to begin treating it against Emerald Ash Borer. We are in the midwest and the pest is getting very close to our location. He said the treatment is 99% percent effective when started early enough, and that it will have to be done every-other year indefinitely.

The huge tree is the centerpiece of the yard and shades the entire house, so we opted to begin treatment this year at $475 as a preventative measure. They came out a treated it eight days ago, drilling a dozen-ish holes in the trunk and pumping some chemical inside. Now, the leaves are curling up and dropping like flies. The driveway is covered in them.

We have left a message with the company to come out and assess the situation. The arborist said nothing about potential side affects or risks. Could they have pumped it full of the wrong chemical? Can anything be done to fix it? If this goes very badly, how would one assess the value of a mature tree for insurance or small claims court?
posted by scottatdrake to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Do you think it might just be early leaf drop? Or due to drought? Or anthracnose?

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posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2014

Usually the chemical is emamectin benzoate. Did they have a big drum or container that they were pumping out of? It could be that a macroinfusion overdosed it but it's also possible that if you've had a lot of rain there is some kind of fungal defoliation that's taking place; those are often harmless. The leaves curling is suspicious, however. Do the leaf stalks have any discoloration at the base?
posted by Red Loop at 4:45 PM on August 3, 2014

I'm very sorry to hear this about your tree. One thing to look for is if the bark is bulging out near the injection holes. With trunk injections, sometimes the pressure can hurt the tree by pushing the bark away from the cambium- it's not clear to me that this is the method they used.

I've seen trees- including white and green ash- recover fully from almost complete defoliation, so don't lose hope that your tree is dead. It might still leaf out in late spring. Also, your state dept. of ag. will probably want to know about improper applications of pesticide, if that's what you think happened. Best luck.
posted by release the hardwoods! at 6:47 AM on August 5, 2014

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