It has been a hard couple of years for ash trees. A green bug called the emerald ash borer has been spreading across the country, killing almost every tree it infests. Arborists have recently found internal insecticide injections that can kill the ash borer and save some trees, but this treatment has come late, and it's also expensive. For these reasons, ash trees keep on dying.
So what do you need to know — and what should you do — if you're one of those homeowners with a bunch of dead ash trees on your land?
Have the trees removed by a professional.
The emerald ash borer kills trees by feeding on their vascular tissue. (It's actually the larvae, not the adult beetles, who do the damage!) This leaves the tree weak. As such, any tree you take down has the potential to crack or break where you least expect it. You really should not be taking these trees down yourself because of this risk.
A professional arborist will be more aware of where a certain ash tree may break during the removal process, and they also have the tools and equipment to remove dead trees more safely. Get some quotes. When you have multiple trees to remove, the service tends to be more affordable than you would think.
Have the trees removed soon.
Since tree removal is an expense, some homeowners put it off as they save up the cash to afford it. But this approach poses a few issues when you have dead ash trees. First, as discussed above, these trees are very weak due to the damage done by the ash borers. Leave them standing too long, and they might fall or drop a big branch on you or your home. Second, the dead trees are a harboring point for the emerald ash borer and are perpetuating the spread of the beetles to other trees. Taking them down is a matter of protecting the other trees.
So while it's not usually a good idea to break the bank with a service like tree care, this is a situation in which you might consider taking on a payment plan or using your credit card and then paying off the tree removal fee in the coming months.
If you have dead ash trees in your land, they need to go — and fast. Contact a tree removal company for an estimate, and go from there.