Bad news for tree lovers here: The Verona Environmental Commission is letting Verona residents know that the very destructive emerald ash borer has been found in Verona trees. The insect pest attacks ash trees and white fringe trees.
The insect was detected in Montclair in 2016 and has now reached Verona. Three different local tree experts recently confirmed that some ash trees in Verona show signs and symptoms of an emerald ash borer attack.
The emerald ash borer is a small greenish insect, about a half-inch in length, which lays its eggs on the stem and branches of the ash tree. The eggs then hatch and the larva burrow their way into the tree’s cambium layer, where they feed and develop. The channels that they make while feeding disrupt the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree, killing the tree in two to four years.
Signs of emerald ash borer infestation include D-shaped holes (about 1/8 inch in diameter) created by adult bugs emerging from under the bark, as well as S-shaped larval galleries created by larvae feeding under the bark. You may also see the tree’s upper and outer crown begin to die back from the tips of the branches, new growth at the base of the tree and on the trunk (often just below where the larvae are feeding), bark vertical splits caused by callus tissue that develops around larval galleries and woodpeckers feeding aggressively on larvae under the bark. The ash tree dies by drying out and its wood gets brittle because the borers cut off the vessels that carry moisture out to the branches.
Since most of the ash trees in town are on private property and wooded lots, the Verona Environmental Commission is recommending that homeowners contact local tree experts to assess their trees and develop a plan of action. The VEC cautions that a dead or dying ash should not be left standing in a yard because a falling tree or branches could harm people or damage buildings and cars.
According to the VEC, there are no natural controls in North America against the emerald ash borer. There are chemical controls, and experts say that while these can take time to be effective, treatment can be less costly than removing a tree. The New Jersey State Forest Service recommends that any pesticide treatments to save ash trees from emerald ash borer should be done sooner rather than later, as treatments are most effective prior to an infestation.
For more information visit www.emeraldashborer.nj.gov. For a list of New Jersey-certified tree experts contact [email protected]