Emerald Ash Borer

The City of Moncton has nearly 500 ash trees on City property, 350 of which get treated for an insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer. This tiny pest has been killing ash trees by the millions across North America since 2002.

Parks and Leisure

506.853.3516

info@moncton.ca

Moncton’s urban forest plays a key role in sustaining a healthy community as well as adding to the beauty and character of our landscape. Unfortunately, our urban forest is under threat from an insect called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This tiny pest has been killing ash trees by the millions across North America since 2002.

City arborists have been monitoring the situation by placing traps in ash dense areas since 2013. City staff and property owners have a role to play to minimize the impact.

Management Plan

Detect - City staff continue to work with provincial, federal, and private sector representative to detect the insect’s arrival.

Treat - Some significant City trees may be identified for treatment. This is not a long term solution, however, and it is not available for all ash trees on City property due to the expensive nature of the treatment.  Homeowners may choose to treat their ash trees.

Remove - Removal of Ash Trees will be necessary to control the rate of spread of the insect and minimize the risk to public safety. Currently, three percent of Moncton’s urban forest consists of ash trees. It is recognized that neighborhoods with a large Ash proportion will be impacted greatly.

Replant - The City’s plan calls for different tree species to be replanted once an ash tree has been removed.  Staggered removal and replanting of trees, over several years, will result in the least impact on the City’s tree canopy.

How to identify an ash tree

Branches and bud arrangement- Branches and buds are directly across from each other and not staggered. When looking for opposite branching in trees, please consider that buds or limbs may die; hence not every single branch will have an opposite mate.

EAB Branches

Leaves- Leaves are compound and composed of 5- 11 leaflets. Leaflet margins may be smooth or toothed. The only other oppositely branched tree with compound leaves is boxelder, which almost always has three to five leaflets.

Leaves

Bark- On mature ash trees, the bark is tight with a distinct pattern of diamond-shaped ridges. On young ash trees, bark is relatively smooth.

Bark
Young Ash Tree
Bark- Mature
Mature Ash Tree

Seeds- When present on ash trees, seeds are dry, oar-shaped samaras. They usually occur in clusters and typically hang on the tree until late fall or early winter.

EAB Seeds

 

 

FAQ

What is the Emerald Ash Borer?

  • The Emerald Ash Borer is a small invasive, wood-boring beetle that feeds on the vascular tissue under the bark of the ash eventually causing the tree’s death.
  • The metallic green beetle, native to East Asia, was accidentally imported to North America within the wood of shipping crates. It was first discovered near Detroit in 2002.
  • This pest is not a threat to human health, but is likely to cause significant damage to native and urban ash forests throughout the province.
  • Unless treated, Emerald Ash Borer threatens to eradicate to our native ash trees regardless of size, age or vigor.
  • Experience from other provinces and eastern states that have been dealing with this pest indicates that it is very important for communities to prepare for the pest before it arrives.

Where is the Emerald Ash Borer from?

The Emerald Ash Borer is native to East Asia. In North America, it has been found in 35 states and 5 Canadian provinces since it was first discovered near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002. It was recently located in Edmundston, New Brunswick, and Bedford, Nova Scotia in 2018.

What does the Emerald Ash Borer look like?

The beetle is metallic green in colour and is 8.5 to 14.0 millimetres long (about 1/2 inch) and 3.1 to 3.4 millimetres wide (1/8 inch). While the back of the insect is an iridescent, metallic green, the underside is a bright emerald green. The body is narrow and elongated, and the head is flat. The eyes are kidney shaped and usually black. Emerald Ash Borer larvae are white and flat, with distinctive 10 bell-shaped segments with pincer-like appendages on the last segment, and can grow up to 30 millimetres long (1 inch).

Is the Emerald Ash Borer that dangerous?

  • The Emerald Ash Borer is the most serious invasive insect threatening the ash species
  • It tunnels through the conductive tissue and cuts off the flow of water and nutrients resulting in tree mortality after two to three years; heavily infested trees have been observed to die after only one year of beetle attack.
  • Unless treated, Emerald Ash Borer is fatal to all true ash or Fraxinus species. The Mountain ash (Sorbus spp.) is not related to ash trees and the insect does not attack that tree.

Why should we care about the ash tree?

  • Ash trees make up approximately 3% of our urban tree population.
  • All species of ash trees that grow in Moncton are susceptible to injury and death by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Mountain ash (Sorbus spp.) is not related to ash trees and the insect does not attack that tree.
  • The wood of the white ash is also known for its unique qualities. It is pliant, strong, but light in weight. Many products are made from the wood of the white ash, including baseball bats, hockey sticks and furniture. White ash provides food for wildlife such as cardinals, finches and wood ducks. The wood of the black ash is not as strong, but has a grain look that is used for furniture. The wood of a young black ash can be split and used for basket making.
  • Black Ash is an important species for the culture of the First Nations community.

How do we find it?

  • Ash trees make up approximately 3% of our urban tree population.
  • All species of ash trees that grow in Moncton are susceptible to injury and death by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Mountain ash (Sorbus spp.) is not related to ash trees and the insect does not attack that tree.
  • The wood of the white ash is also known for its unique qualities. It is pliant, strong, but light in weight. Many products are made from the wood of the white ash, including baseball bats, hockey sticks and furniture. White ash provides food for wildlife such as cardinals, finches and wood ducks. The wood of the black ash is not as strong, but has a grain look that is used for furniture. The wood of a young black ash can be split and used for basket making.
  • Black Ash is an important species for the culture of the First Nations community.

What if I think I found it?

  • If you think you found the beetle or see signs or symptoms on an ash tree, please take a picture of it and report your findings to a local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist.
  • You can compare the beetle you see with some other insects that are mistaken for it.

What can we do to support our ash trees?

The public can contribute significantly in helping prevent the spread of this invasive beetle, and other wood-dwelling invasive pests:

  • Don’t move firewood from its intended location. The insect does not fly far on its own and infestations result from movement of infested ash trees and ash wood products. Purchase only certified, treated, and labeled firewood. Burn it where you buy it.
  • Talk about Emerald Ash Borer with your family and friends to raise awareness.
  • Determine now if you have any ash trees: Identifying features of ash trees include compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets; leaflets, buds and branches growing directly opposite from one another; and diamond-shaped bark ridges on mature trees.
  • If you have an ash tree, start planning: Decide if the overall health of the tree merits current or future treatment or if it would be best to remove and replace it with a different species. If you aren’t sure, contact an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist.
  • Recognize signs of EAB infestation: Property owners with ash trees should be on the lookout for thinning of leaves in the upper tree canopy; 1/8-inch D-shaped exit holes on the bark; increased woodpecker activity; and bark splitting vertically, with winding S-shaped or serpentine galleries underneath.
  • Help prevent further spread of EAB: Do not transport ash or any hardwood firewood, or any other untreated ash wood products, such as firewood, packing material/industrial wood material, live plant material (I.e.: nursery stock), and ash wood such as logs, branches, chips, and more.

How do we protect our ash trees?

  • Early detection is key. It provides additional time to identify and implement management options before unacceptable ash mortality.
  • Ash that appear in good health, within 15 to 25 km of an infested area, can be treated before infestation.
  • Trees not selected for treatment should be removed sooner rather than later.
  • Once trees are infested, risk of failure increases and risk to public safety becomes primary concern.
  • City employees are working diligently to mitigate and manage potential effects through planned removals and replanting on streets, while optimizing tight fiscal resources. Private property owners are responsible for the costs associated with the management of ash trees on their property.

How does the Emerald Ash Borer destroy a tree?

  • Emerald Ash Borer larvae feed on the tissues just below the bark. As they feed, larvae create serpentine tunnels, also called galleries, that disrupt the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients and eventually resulting in tree mortality.
  • An adult Emerald Ash Borer typically emerges during June and July, leaving D-shaped exit holes in the bark. After emerging, the adults feed on ash foliage and can live for approximately three weeks.

What are the symptoms of the Emerald Ash Borer?

  • canopy dieback, beginning in the top one-third of the canopy
  • sprouting from the base of the tree and trunk
  • bark splitting
  • serpentine galleries below the bark
  • D-shaped exit holes
  • increased woodpecker activity

What species of trees does the Emerald Ash Borer infect?

Emerald Ash Borer attacks and kills all species of North American ash, including white, green and black ash. Mountain Ash is not a true ash, so it is not threatened by Emerald Ash Borer.

Can anything be done to prevent Emerald Ash Borer from killing ash trees?

In areas where Emerald Ash Borer is present, treatments can be used to protect trees. Contact a local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist for treatment options.

What is a high-value ash tree? Is my ash tree significant?

A high-value ash tree could be one that is historic, provides a lot of shade, and/or highly valued by the community and homeowners.

Is there a treatment for the Emerald Ash Borer?

  • Tree care professionals have several treatments to protect high-value trees from Emerald Ash Borer. 
  • City employees are working diligently to mitigate and manage potential effects through detection, treatment, planned removals, and replanting.
  • Private property owners are responsible for the costs associated with the identification, treatment, and management of their property’s trees infected with Emerald Ash Borer.

Should I treat / remove my ash tree before it gets Emerald Ash Borer?

  • No treatment is needed until Emerald Ash Borer has been found within an area adjacent to where are located.
  • If your tree has symptoms like those of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, such as canopy dieback, wood pecker damage, or borer exit holes, you may want to have a tree care professional examine the tree.
  • Contact a local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, or visit www.isaatlantic.org.
  • If your ash tree is healthy, there is no reason to remove it. If it is dying or diseased, it may be best to contact an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist to inspect your tree. 
  • With highly destructive invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer, it is best to err on the side of caution by seeking professional guidance if you suspect your tree is infested.

Who should I call if I think my tree has Emerald Ash Borer?

Contact a local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, or visit www.isaatlantic.org.

How do private (residential) homeowners dispose of ash trees?

  • Residents and/or contractors are responsible for the proper disposal of any ash material coming from private property.
  • Private property owners are responsible for the costs associated with the identification, treatment, and management of their property’s trees infected with Emerald Ash Borer.

Who is responsible for infected trees?

Trees within the right-of-way

  • The City will remove infested ash trees located within the right-of-way from your property if it is located within the road allowance. If the tree in front of your house is showing signs of Emerald Ash Borer infestation, contact the City of Moncton at 506.859.2643 to have the tree assessed.

Trees on private property

  • You are responsible for all trees located on your private property, including treatment, removal, and disposal. Contact an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist to discuss your options.
  • If you decide to have your tree removed, ensure that the material is not moved outside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) quarantined zone (if a quarantine is in effect), and is disposed of at approved site. The wood can be utilized for firewood and landscape use within the quarantine zone
  • Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at 1.866.463.6017 to prevent the introduction and spread of Emerald Ash Borer.

Does the City of Moncton help cover the costs of tree removal on private property?

  • No. The City of Moncton will be tasked with managing the Emerald Ash Borer infestation with minimal external assistance, so property owners are responsible for their own trees.
  • City employees are working diligently to mitigate and manage potential effects of Emerald Ash Borer through a fiscally sustainable plan that includes detection, planned removals, treatment, and replanting.
  • Private property owners are responsible for the costs associated with the management of their property’s trees, including treatment, removal, and disposal.