Interesting Street Tree Disease Information

Posted on May 18th, 2017

The Township’s Forester went out to my home and looked at a tree on my property which was not looking very good to me.  I might add, this is my favorite tree,  so I was hoping for some good news on how to treat the problem.

Upon his examination, he advised me of the following information that I wanted to share with all of you in the event you run into this problem yourself:

He stated, (and I quote with his permission) that my tree, “a “Green Ash,” used to be a very common street tree, but it is no longer planted because it is susceptible to an insect called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  The adult beetle lays her eggs on the bark of ash trees and when the larvae hatch out they bore through the cambium (inner living layer) of the tree.  Emerald Ash Borer has literally wiped out ash trees in Indiana, Michigan and is making its presence known in the eastern states.  It has already been identified in Burlington County and it is only a matter of time before it decimates ash trees here in New Jersey.

That’s the real bad news.  The slightly less bad news is that your tree, the trees on Kings Court  and even mature trees I planted 25 years ago here at Pinelands Nursery do not have Emerald Ash Borer.  I suspected that Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) might be the problem with my trees, so I brought in a specialist from Rutgers.  He did not see any signs of EAB, but could not diagnose the problem.  I did a little research on my own and I think what is affecting our trees goes by the broad term of Ash decline.  Ash decline consists of two diseases – verticillium wilt and ash yellows.  Both cause branches to die back and make the tree look horrible.  I’ve noticed here at Pinelands that some trees hang on, but others will eventually succumb and die.    

Even if ash decline doesn’t kill our trees immediately, Emerald Ash Borer will eventually get them.  My recommendation is to cut the affected trees down before they fall and cause problems.  If you have a fireplace, ash wood is considered the best.  There is a firewood poem that talks about various types of firewood and the last line is “but ash wood wet or ash wood dry a King will warm his slippers by”.  I bet that made you feel a lot better.”

I did smile with his firewood poem, but am still a bit sad that my favorite tree…(which my kids and I planted the first spring/summer we moved to Mansfield Township 18 years ago), is sick and needs to be cut down.

I hope you find this information helpful should you be in a similar situation now or may come into the situation in the future.

Linda Semus…. Township Municipal Clerk