May is the month that your Louisville arborists are focused on managing diseases and the insects that carry them. In truth, it’s important to pay attention to preventing these carriers and their infections every month as sicknesses of the tree variety are fast and determinedly contagious.
In order to help you discover these destructive pests faster, we will be highlighting a few of the most threatening ones.
The two most prominent issues in the Louisville area, and beyond, are Dutch Elm Disease and the rapid decay caused by The Emerald Ash Borer. We can’t emphasize enough just how important it is that you contact your local arborist and tree care professionals before it’s too late.
Dutch Elm Disease
This disease is believed to be originally native to Asia. It was an unhappy accident that it found its way into America & Europe. True to its name, it sticks to devastating elm trees. The “Dutch” part of the name comes from its identification in 1921 by Dutch phytopathologists (New Word Alert! Phytopathology is the science of diagnosing and managing plant diseases). The disease involves a beetle but the real problem is the fungus it carries. It can turn your elm trees into dead elm trees in a very short amount of time and so it must be treated ASAP!
Signs & Symptoms of Dutch Elm Disease
The first sign is typically an infection in the upper branch of the tree, spreading to the rest progressively. Eventually, roots will die as they are starved of nutrients from the leaves.
Look out for the yellowing and wilting of leaves which will eventually turn brown and curl up as branches die. If you peel back the bark of infected twigs or branches, brown discoloration is seen in the outer layer of wood.
For further visual guidance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzRuVWEx6Mg
Emerald Ash Borer
The EAB is a very small beetle that can cause very large damage to ash trees. Once the insect has taken hold, its contamination can spread quickly and cause trees to die at alarming rates. It was discovered near Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 2002. Since then its unpopular fame has spread to Ohio, Northern Indiana, Northern Illinois and so on (See http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ to follow along its path of destruction). Adult EABs nibble on ash foliage but actually cause little damage. It’s the babies who are the real problem. Larvae feed on the inner bark of the trees and disrupt the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.
Signs & Symptoms of EAB
The beetle itself is misleading in its beauty – typically bright, metallic, emerald green in color with variable amounts of brassy, coppery or reddish reflections. It comes from bell-shaped larvae and emerges from D-shaped holes.
Look out for…
Crown dieback – Trees begin to show dead branches throughout the canopy, beginning at the top
Random Sprouting – Stressed trees will attempt to grow new branches where they still can – possibly in previous dormant areas of the tree
Bark Splits – Looks exactly like it sounds… you’ll see vertical splits in the bark
Woodpecker Feeding: Woodpeckers like to feed on the larvae located under the bark – usually higher in the tree
For further visual guidance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwONMDCJkOc
If you notice any of these signs, don’t wait to call your local arborist. Some skillful tree pruning could slow down or even kill the progression of the disease. Even better, prevent the infestation from happening at all. Abundant Tree Care will come over and inject the proper pesticide or fungicide into the tree, providing excellent protection against these threats. In the unfortunate case that the damage is done, we’d be happy to come over and see if tree removal is necessary.