I have two beautiful Rayburn Ash trees along my driveway. I noticed a few years ago that little areas of bark were falling off and that tiny little holes in the bark had formed. A few branches had died too, so I did a little research. It was borers!
The bad news is that if you leave the tree untreated or if you discovered the infestation too late, it is likely that you will have to “kiss your ash good-bye.” (Hey, I had to use that pun. You knew it was coming!) The good news is that if you catch it early, you can stop and reverse the damage of the tiny insects.
What are borers? As the name would indicate, borers are tiny insects that dig into the tree to reproduce. There are a number of different types of insects that may bore into tree trunks and branches in their larval stages, producing sawdust or sap-filled holes and weakening trees.
Two years ago, I started applying a systemic killer, and my ash trees are much healthier. Dead branches are no longer a problem. Am I happy? You bet your ash I am!! (Hey, I’m sorry, but I had to use that sad little joke one more time. You know me by now!)
Here’s what you need to do to bring your tree back to good health IF you caught the problem early:
1. Cut off dead branches right at the main trunk so that the borers do not spread to healthy parts of the tree.
2. Buy a systemic insect killer. I like Bayer Tree & Shrub Protect and Feed. (Please keep this product away from children, pets, and your own skin. Handle carefully.)
3. Use an empty milk container to mix the solution.
4. Measure the trunk of the tree. For every 1 inch, you need 1 ounce of the chemical.
5. Pour that chemical into the milk jug, and then fill with water. Shake well.
6. Slowly pour the chemical/water mixture around the base of the tree. Water in.
You’ll see a difference by the end of the summer. You’ll see an even bigger difference over a couple years, because reversing the damage from borers takes some time.
Good luck saving your ash!! (Again, so sorry. Bad, Rob, bad!)