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Spring Check up for Tree Care Should Include Emerald Ash Borer Inspection

By Stein Tree
Posted on March 15, 2024

Your trees have weathered the winter. With winter weather almost behind us and new buds popping up on trees, those trees may need special care to be their healthiest and most beautiful, particularly from emerald ash borer. The adult emerald ash borer (EAB) has been a significant and destructive pest in Pennsylvania for years. First discovered in the United States in 2002, the emerald ash borer has caused considerable damage to ash trees across the United States, affecting both the environment and the economy.

Because spring is the time that these adult beetles emerge and begin devouring the canopy of ash trees, we advise residents to be proactive and prepare to protect ash trees from this pest with a spring inspection of their trees.

Tree Care Spring Checklist

Just like you do spring cleaning in your home, some tree maintenance should be done regularly for your trees to thrive. To help you keep your trees safe, here is a checklist of what to do to maintain the health and appearance of your trees from the impact of emerald ash borer.

Inspect Your Trees Thoroughly

The adult emerald ash borer emerges in spring, but you should be on the lookout for them all year, as larvae activity damage can be seen when the trees are bare in winter. Start from your driveway and look at the landscape as a whole. You may see trees that are growing irregularly, thin areas in the canopy, fungal growths, or other issues that might get missed by a daily casual glance.

Look For Signs of Emerald Ash Borer Activity

Generally, the first major sign that EAB has infested a tree is a thinning of leaves at the top of the tree. Unfortunately, if you see this symptom, your tree will likely have been under attack for some time already. Other signs to look for include the following:

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Epicormic shoots
  • D-shaped exit holes
  • S-shaped galleries under the bark
  • Unusual woodpecker activity
Emerald ash borer s shaped galleries - emerald ash borer inspection - Stein Tree Service Wilmington DE

Remove Debris & Tree Wrappings

Regular fall and winter seasons will cause leaves to cover the areas around the base of your trees. After the winter season we have just encountered, you may find larger branches that need to be removed. Rake or pick up leaves, twigs, or other debris around your trees.

Also, remove any protective wraps you have used during the winter and ensure that no roots or other items are wrapped around the trees. Leaving the tree constricted in any way can cause girdling, which cuts off the flow of nutrients and water and can weaken the tree trunk.

Add Fresh Mulch

In addition to giving a fresh look to your landscape, mulch can be a healthy addition. Adding a 3-inch layer of mulch around trees helps retain moisture and discourages weed growth. Be careful to avoid mulching too close to the tree. If mulch piles against the tree, fungi are more likely to develop, so make sure the mulch is all around the tree but just shy of touching the tree.

Trim and Prune

Though winter is the best time for pruning, trees may remain dormant in spring, allowing for late trimming and pruning. Remember that in Pennsylvania and Delaware, windy conditions and storms are common in the spring and summer, so thinning out branches will reduce the potential for weak branches to fall off and cause damage to surrounding property. Pruning trees and shrubs can help with overall air flow and also encourage healthy growth.

However, pruning requires the right knowledge and experience, as improper or incorrect cuts can lead to adverse outcomes, like over-pruning or improperly pruning, damaging the appearance or overall health of the trees. As a result, hiring a professional to do this type of pruning is recommended.

General Inspection Tips

In addition to our specific recommendations, here is some general advice when looking at your landscape in the spring.

  • Inspect all elements of your landscape to prepare for the summer.
  • Ensure irrigation systems are working properly and set to avoid spraying on trees susceptible to fungus.
  • Check for any damage that may have occurred. If tree limbs are weak, those branches may be susceptible to breakage, which could cause property damage. Damage to bark could also leave trees open to infection or insect infestation.
  • Look for the presence of fungus or other tree disease. Mushrooms growing on tree surfaces could indicate tree death, weakening the tree trunk and necessitating removal.

Call Stein Tree for Spring Tree Care and Emerald Ash Borer Inspection

Maintaining your landscape should be essential to your home spring cleaning routine. Stein Tree Service has provided excellent tree care, including tree removal, trimming and pruning, emerald ash borer inspection, and other services, to the residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland for over 40 years. We are also licensed to treat the emerald ash borer pest in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Contact us today for a free consultation or to learn about our services!

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