2016-09-21 / Outdoor Life

Emerald Ash Borers Are Here

What To Do Before Your Trees Die
By John MacNaught

This ash tree shows the devastating effects of the EAB. This ash tree shows the devastating effects of the EAB. You probably have already heard the hype about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) by now. If you have taken a drive east on Route 28 towards Kingston in the past year, you certainly would have seen the dead and dying ash trees, especially around the Ashokan Reservoir. This drive should be eye opening for you as a homeowner and landowner in the Catskills. Now is the time to act.

If your property does not have EAB yet, it will very soon. The invasive little green beetle brought over from Asia is killing every ash tree in the Catskills, and the rest of the Northeast; Ash makes up roughly 10 percent of our forest. As the beetle moves west from Ulster County, signs of it in the trees of Delaware County are evident. I have already seen positive ID of EAB in the village of Margaretville and on Dry Brook Ridge in Middletown. I see ash trees standing dead in the hamlet of Roxbury, and have even noticed ash trees looking stressed in the hamlets of Andes and DeLancey where I live and grew up. It is not long before the beetle will devastate Bovina, Delhi, Kortright, Hamden, Walton, and beyond, if it is not already present in these towns. The Emerald Ash Borer goes relatively undetected until the tree is completely infested and dying.

It is important to take precautionary steps on your property. If you have an ash tree near your home – and you wish to save it – your only current option is to treat the tree using pesticides every one to three years. This can be difficult due to the lack of certified pesticide applicators qualified in our region. If treating the tree is out of the question, plan on removing it. Tree removal is costly and quotes can be highly variable based on many factors, but one thing is for certain, tree removal is both safer, easier, and cheaper for a living tree versus a dead or dying tree. Plan on removing the tree now, while it is still alive. This could save you hundreds, if not thousands in tree work costs.

Lastly, many landowners have timber-quality ash trees on their property. Scheduling a well-planned timber harvest with a forester could take many months. Plan ahead and call a forester to assist you now if you wish to salvage the value of your trees. Once the EAB has infested the trees, their value as timber products decreases and may lose appeal to a logger.

If you have any questions about the Emerald Ash Borer, or anything else forest related, there is a place to get advice. The Catskill Forest Association in Arkville is a 501(c) non-profit organization, dedicated to providing landowners with impart ial forestry advice and education, along with many other services. It provides free consultations and can assist you with your land mana g ement needs. Staff can also introduce you to professionals to get the job done for you. More information can be found at or by calling 845-586-3054.

John MacNaught is the Wildlife Specialist for the Catskill Forest Association, a non-profit forestry education organization located in Arkville;

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