Save Your Ash Tree!

The Emerald Ash Borer is devastating trees all over eastern North America including Ottawa-Gatineau. A simple treatment will save your ash tree. But you need to do it before it gets infected.

I love our ash tree in the front yard. Its stately presence and shade are enjoyable during the summer months.

Ash tree

The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly destructive invasive beetle. It is a pest of ash trees. It has been in Canada  since the summer of 2002. It is believed to have killed millions of trees in the United States and Canada, with billions more across North America at risk of infestation and death.

Ottawa-Gatineau is one of the regulated areas for emerald ash borer. This means the beetle has been detected and deemed a problem in this geography.


The larvae of the beetle feed on the sap of the tree just under the bark. By cutting off the supply of nutrients, the tree dies quickly. Once infested, ash trees generally die in two or three years. However, heavily infested trees can die after only one year of beetle attack.

Unfortunately you can only see signs of infestation once the tree has been heavily infested. These signs include the loss of green color in the uppermost leaves and thinning and dieback of the crown foliage.  With a 30% loss of foliage, there is a 50% chance that treatment will save the tree.

When the tree is dead, it becomes a safety hazard. The tree becomes brittle and is unstable. Structural failure will have the tree collapse on itself. Tree removal experts need to take extra care in cutting a dead ash tree down. That means it is more expensive (can be over $1000) to remove your dead tree.

A collapsed tree from structural failure. Photo by Alan Viau
A collapsed tree from structural failure. Photo by Alan Viau

So the key is to saving you ash tree is to prevent it from being infected in the first place. There is only one product in Canada registered to this, Tree Azin which is based on an extract from the Neem tree. Vaccination with Tree Azin protects the tree for two years from the pest. You need to hired a trained and certified arbourist to inoculate your tree with Tree Azin.

The arbourist will drill holes and place nozzles in the tree about one foot off the ground. The number of application sites depends on the diameter of the tree. My tree is 34 cm and required nine injection sites.

Drilling and placement of nozzles. Photo by Alan Viau
Drilling and placement of nozzles. Photo by Alan Viau

Pressured canisters of Tree Azin are attached to the nozzles. A healthy tree will take up the liquid quickly. You can see the liquid being taken up within 30 minutes.

Injection site. Photo by Alan Viau
Injection site. Photo by Alan Viau
Tree being vaccinated. Photo by Alan Viau
Tree being vaccinated. Photo by Alan Viau

The price for treatment was $200. A lot less expensive than cutting down the tree and replacing it with a younger tree. And I get to enjoy my White Ash tree for years to come.

In our region, it is certain that your ash tree will get infected. Act now to save your beautiful tree.

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