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Southeast Regional Reports

Emerald Ash Borer Damage and Prevention

How to recognize and treat ash trees affected by this invasive pest

This green ash tree (Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Zones 3–9) is slowly dying due to an infestation of emerald ash borer. Photo: Steven Katovich of USDA Forest Service.

Change happens, especially in nature. The predictable type of change, like the rhythmic cascades of the seasons or caterpillars reinventing themselves as butterflies, are reassuring, even inspiring. But catastrophic changes, like trees felled in violent storms, are just the opposite.

A big change is coming to the Southeast, and for some of us, it’s already well underway. I’m talking about the arrival of the emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis) and the death of ash trees (Fraxinus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) that follows close behind. As of June 2019, the presence of this pest has been reported in all southern states except Mississippi and Florida. If you are a forest-lover, this is hard change to bear, knowing there is no stopping it, especially as the hemlocks (Tsuga spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8) of our southern Appalachians continue to die. But as a home gardener, I am not resigned; instead,…

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