From Emerald Ash Borer

USDA Updates Emerald Ash Borer Map, January 2018

While emerald ash borer (EAB) may be considered “old-news” in the buckeye state, many may want to keep a watchful eye on its progression beyond Ohio. Each month, USDA APHIS produces an updated EAB Detection Map. Occasionally, we like to post these updated maps on BYGL for those that are interested in monitoring the spread of the pest in North America.


The most recent additions to the map include:

  • initial county detections in: St. Clair and Talladega Counties, Alabama; Queens County, New York; and Eau…
Published on
Amy Stone

Ash Treatment Recommendations Remain Unchanged

As Emerald Ash Borer continues to spread, we have been saying that over time we may be able to back off some on treatment. The jury is still out on that and conversations with experts such as Dr. Dan Hermes and Joe Boggs of The Ohio State University confirm that not only do we need to keep up the two-year treatment interval with Treeage, but it is unclear when, or even if, we will be able to step down treatment.

At Arbor Doctor, we still believe we will be able to step down at some point. However, we also are committed to following the best recommendation and that is to maintain the 2-year treatment interval.

Just a reminder that we treat after leaves emerge fully. Most treatments should be completed by the end of June.

Tree-saving efforts are taking root

Last summer, it was impossible to miss. Visible from almost every road in the Tristate were large areas of dead and declining trees. These trees were ash, and the culprit was the emerald ash borer, an exotic insect accidentally imported into North America to which our native ash have no resistance. Ongoing chemical treatments may preserve a small percentage, but in reality there is nothing that can stop the loss of ash, which for centuries has been an integral part of the American forest. Read more>>>

Emerald Ash Borer treatment protocol update

As we move through time, research and our experience with Emerald Ash Borer continues, and our knowledge base grows to better serve you.  While this letter does not constitute any change in our service philosophy, we occasionally run across a bit of confusion regarding the Emerald Ash Borer program and what it can and cannot provide.  Please find here some facts about our Emerald Ash Borer program:

  1. Effectiveness:  Treeage (Emamectin Benzoate) treatment done every other year is 98% effective in controlling Emerald Ash Borer.  We have yet to see an Arbor Doctor LLC treated tree die from Emerald Ash Borer if treated with Treeage and if previously uninfested.
  2. Assessment:  The initial degree of infestation is often difficult to impossible to detect.  We do our best to give an honest assessment of the tree’s condition and chances of success based primarily on canopy thinning, but also taking into account bark splitting, woodpecker activity, and emergence holes.  However, occasionally, a tree will succumb anyway, or is more infested than first thought.  Arbor Doctor LLC makes no warranty regarding a tree determined to be already infested tree.  Treatment of an infested tree should be considered a rescue treatment.  After 2 years, or one Treeage treatment regimen, it should be more clear whether the tree will recover and further treatment is warranted.
  3. Warranty:  There can be no guarantee regarding previously or already infested trees.  We have a very good track record saving previously infested trees.  We will refund the previous round of Treeage treatment cost if a previously uninfested tree dies from Emerald Ash Borer as a primary cause of death.  The health of the tree must also have been protected with a plant health care basal tilling and organic fertilization regimen.  Our Emerald Ash Borer charges include evaluation and treatment.  If a previously infested tree dies, you have still received consulting services and treatment services.
  4. Treeage vs. commercial and retail Imidacloprid products:  We have treated trees with Imidacloprid and Treeage.  Our experience at this point is clear.  Treeage treated trees are totally clean of Emerald Ash Borer, if previously uninfested, while trees treated with Imidacloprid are showing varying degrees of infestation.  This may have been acceptable in research plots when studying how to preserve large numbers of trees, but this level of control is unacceptable according to our standards at Arbor Doctor LLC.  We have one tree in particular under our care which we are doing rescue treatments of Treeage, despite its being treated with Imidacloprid all along.  For this reason, this year we switched most of our annual Imidacloprid clients to Treeage.  This caused a little sticker shock at first, but the 2 year cost is actually the same.  Only small trees are still being treated by Arbor Doctor LLC with Imidacloprid.  We cannot recommend treating larger trees with Imidacloprid, either commercial or over the counter products, based on our experience.

Arbor Doctor cares about your trees.  We want to help you make the best management decisions.  Please feel free to contact us by phone or email with any questions.


Recent Emerald Ash Borer article a bit misleading…

A recent Cincinnati Enquirer and article on Emerald Ash Borer treatment by Denny McKeown has raised some questions.  The article, New insecticide protects ash trees, is partially correct but also partially misleading.

The insecticide the article refers to goes by the brand name of Optrol, also known as Xytect.  While the article says this material is new, it is not.  This is a re-labeled Imidacloprid product (sometimes known as Merit). Arbor Doctor has used it for several years on some trees.  It does provide control.  However, under high insect pressure, we have seen trees significantly affected despite treatment.  Treated trees have not been killed yet in our experience.  However, trees treated with Treeage by Arbor Doctor consistently show no borer activity. 

For that reason, Arbor Doctor this year decided to transition many of our Xytect clients to Treeage. We want our clients to see optimal results with the highest chances for success. Treeage is applied every other year, while Xytect must be applied annually.  The long term cost of Xytect, applied twice as often, ends up being similar to Treeage, perhaps a bit less, but with lesser results as well.

For some unknown reason, Denny McKeown has repeatedly opposed Treeage.  He has said on his show that you should run anyone off your property who approaches your ash with a drill.  Numerous studies have looked at possible ill effects of Arborjet Treeage injections and have found no ill effects.  Denny has his opinions, but his opinion on Treeage has no basis in fact that we know of. 

As an ISA Certified Arborist, Arbor Doctor owner Ron Rothhaas agrees to adhere to the ISA Code of Ethics which requires that adherents “Deliver safe and competent services with objective and independent professional judgment in decision-making.”   

Arbor Doctor is not opposed to either Xytect or Optrol.  Be aware, however, that you will likely still see some activity.  Also, correct application methodology is imperative for success.  Arbor Doctor does use Xytect, and will if that is what you want, but it is not our first choice for most trees in high infestation areas.

Emerald Ash Borer is sweeping west in Hamilton County, Ohio

by Ronald E. Rothhaas Jr.

ISA OH 5177A

Member, American Society of Consulting Arborists

A recent evening walk in a quiet Westwood neighborhood revealed a reality for the west side which east siders have known and lived for several years.  The Emerald Ash Borer is here and trees are rapidly succumbing.

In 2011, Emerald Ash Borer was found by ISA certified arborist Kevin Griffin near Linneman and Church.  That same summer, trees began dying in the parking lot of Mercy Western Hills hospital.  This spring, ash tree death has intensified area wide, with rapid expansion on the west side.  While Anderson Township, West Chester, and Blue Ash are well on their way to losing all untreated ash trees, the wave is now sweeping across western hills. 

Most ash trees I saw along Coral Park Drive in Westwood now have the borer.  Two trees went from 100% alive to near death in a few months on Pershing Court.  An 80 foot ash stands dead near Ramona, and another large ash near that intersection is 1/3 dead and likely in its last year of viability.

The purpose of this article is not to spread undo alarm, but rather to bring to light a stark reality.  If you have been waiting to treat your ash tree, your time is up.  This time next year, many west side ash trees will be too far gone to treat.  Ashes are showing signs of infestation in many areas, including but not limited to Anderson Ferry, Boudinot, Coral Park, Ferguson, West Tower, Veazey, Urwiller, Cheviot, Airycrest, Goda, Bridgetown, Addyston, White Oak, and Mt. Airy Forest.

We now have considerable experience with this insect.  We know that it starts slowly then expands rapidly like a wildfire out of control.  The slow initial spread westward likely lured many into a false sense of security, but no more.  The borer is here.  Many trees are obviously infested to the trained eye, even if laymen cannot tell.  Diagnosis of an individual tree is academic.  ALL ash trees will die.  It may take one year or it may take several, but they will die.

The good news is that treatment is 98% effective IF done properly.  Unfortunately, many believe that garden center solutions will stop the pest in all ash trees.  One radio personality likes to tell people that these treatments are the way to go.  My own experience is showing that even doubled rates with professional grades of these materials still allow for some degree of infestation, although studies show that the professional rates are adequate for keeping trees alive.  I have personally looked at a 1/3 dead ash in a high infestation area which was treated with the low dose over the counter rate.  The dosage was the only problem I could identify.

The advice put forth by universities and repeated by professionals such as myself and radio gardening expert Ron Wilson of Natorps is much more sound.  While garden center solutions work in smaller trees, studies show decreased effectiveness on large trees.  Professionally injected Emmamectin benzoate is working on larger trees and providing 98% control.  This material, trade named Tree-age, must be applied every other year until the wave of high insect activity has passed.  While the jury is still out, it now appears Tree-age insecticide levels may remain high enough to protect trees in the post-die off time frame to provide 3-4 years of protection, perhaps 5-10 years down the road.  Soil injected Imidicloprid at the double rate protects trees in studies but MUST be applied annually at the high rate and still seems to allow for a degree of damage, according to trees I have looked at.

If you have ash trees, you will be dealing with Emerald Ash Borer very soon if not already.  You will either treat your tree(s), cut them down, or they will die and ultimately fall down, a threat to lives and property.  There have thus far been no instances of ash trees surviving the infestation wave.  True, some survive longer than others, but 100% death of untreated native ash appears inevitable.

A city forester told me she is writing orders on the east side to homeowners with dead ash trees.  They are a danger to the community and local governments can and often will enforce removal if the tree threatens the right of way or adjoining properties.  Yes, for some this is an economic disaster, but it is here and it is now.  The time is past to ignore the Emerald Ash Borer.

More unbiased research based information can be found at  Arbor Doctor LLC treats for Emerald Ash Borer and also maintains an extensive website with an Emerald Ash Borer section and Emerald Ash Borer blog.  This can be found at  Updates are also posted on our Facebook page.

Winter offers Emerald Ash Borer updates and new research information

Winter is the time for seminars and updates in the horticultural industry.  Updates on Emerald Ash Borers have revealed few changes. 

Treeage insecticide is providing a solid two years of efficacy in studies but begins to decline in the third year.  This may be sufficient in low insect pressure areas but is insufficient in areas with higher insect pressure.  Most of the Cincinnati metro area ranges from increasing to high/peak pressure right now with eastern areas more advanced and western areas less infested but with increasing activity.  Experience would tell us that western areas will be highly infested soon or may be already.  Northern Kentucky is also showing high insect pressure. 

Arbor Doctor offers a complete range of Emerald Ash Borer options.

Homeowner treated ash positive for Emerald Ash Borer

Recently we looked at an ash tree in Liberty Township which the homeowner had been treating with one of the over the counter products for control of Emerald Ash Borer.  His treatment methodology sounded correct, although it was done at the label rate which can be low for a larger tree under heavy insect pressure.  The tree is positive for EAB, and fairly severe at that.  We talked and I am going to inject it.  It is less than 50% dead but maybe 30%.  He knows it is not a sure thing.  The tree has D shaped holes, dead branches, suckering, split bark and woodpecker holes.  A couple non-D shaped holes have frass so I’m not certain it is only EAB.  I plan to use Tree-age due to faster uptake and broader spectrum control.  -Ron R.


When the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) expanded its
emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine last September to
include all of Ohio’s 88 counties, the movement of ash
tree materials and hardwood firewood within the state
apparently was no longer regulated – since the quarantine
made it illegal for people to move those materials from a
quarantined county into a non-quarantined county.
However, there’s still a quarantine in place in Ohio that
involves not EAB  (an exotic beetle that kills ash trees),
but another invasive, destructive insect: gypsy moth.
Gypsy moth feeds on the leaves of various trees and
shrubs, but it’s particularly fond of oak. The severe
defoliation caused by the caterpillar stage of this insect
can lead to a tree’s death.

Because female gypsy moths lay their eggs on a variety of
surfaces, the gypsy moth quarantine is even more
restrictive than that enacted to slow down the spread of
EAB. It prohibits the movement of all firewood (not just
hardwood) from a quarantined county into a non-quarantined

Other regulated items include trees and woody shrubs,
including cut Christmas trees; logs, pulpwood, slab-wood
and wood-bark chips; outdoor household articles such as
tables, benches, chairs, doghouses, birdhouses, utility
sheds, grills and garden equipment; and recreational
vehicles, boats, trailers, tents and associated equipment.
Also regulated are any other items that may carry a life
stage of gypsy moth.

Currently, 51 Ohio counties (most in the eastern and
northwestern parts of the state) are quarantined because
of gypsy moth. A map is available at this site>>>

ODA and Ohio State University Extension encourage people
to abide by quarantine regulations and minimize the
movement of firewood to avoid the further spread of
invasive insects and diseases that threaten trees. A good
practice is to obtain firewood locally and to burn it
completely on-site.
“Transporting infested or infected firewood can result in
a dramatically more rapid spread of these harmful pests,”
said Amy Stone, an OSU Extension educator who has worked
in outreach programs for both gypsy moth and EAB. “When it
comes to firewood, we are asking people to ‘buy local and
burn local.’ Doing that will go a long way in protecting
our natural resources.”

In addition to the state quarantine for gypsy moth, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture also has enacted
quarantines for both gypsy moth and EAB that make it
illegal to transport firewood and other regulated items
out of the state of Ohio. Maps of these federal
quarantines are available here and here.
For more information about gypsy moth and quarantine
regulations in Ohio, log on to or call 888-OHIO-EAB.
To learn more about EAB, go to

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College
of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Study fails to show that trees are harmed by drill hole injections

A study by Joseph J. Doccola, David R. Smitley, Terrance W. Davis, John J. Aiken, and Peter M. Wild, published in the January edition of the Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, failed to show negative effects to trees from drill hole injections such as the Arborjet injections used for Emerald Ash Borer.  Many have been concerned about this approach due to the potential for negative effects to the trees.  This study did not show any lasting negative effects.  Of course it must be noted that, for ash in particular, failure to treat will inevitably result in the death of the tree due to Emerald Ash Borer

Experts agree: it makes sense to treat urban ash trees

Experts have signed on to a consensus paper which concludes that urban ash conservation can be less costly than removal, especially when the significant environmental and economic benefits of established trees are considered (, Furthermore, ash conservation can circumvent the substantial environmental impacts caused by wholesale deforestation of the urban landscape, as well as the documented public safety risks associated with standing dead ash trees and their removal.  Read the entire Emerald Ash Borer Management statement here>>>