If You Have an Ash Tree

If you have an ash tree on your property, your two options are to treat it or remove it.  Any ash tree not treated with insecticide will succumb to EAB in the near future.  EAB has been detected only a couple miles from the Fitchburg city limits, so Forestry staff recommend all property owners make a decision about how to manage their ash trees.
  
Treat Your Tree or Remove It?
Consider the following five factors when deciding whether to treat an ash tree with EAB insecticide or to remove it:

  1. Overall Tree Health
  2. Crown Form & Pruning
  3. Signs of EAB
  4. Aesthetic & Financial Benefits
  5. Treatment vs. Removal Cost
An ash tree already in poor health for reasons other than EAB should be removed.  For any insecticide to be effective, an ash tree must be healthy enough to transport it throughout its entire trunk, throughout all of its limbs and branches, and into all of its leaves. This is true for insecticides applied to the soil, injected into the trunk, and sprayed around the base of the trunk or onto the leaf canopy. An ash tree in poor health cannot adequately distribute any insecticide to provide the systemic protection needed against EAB on two fronts (1) the larvae, which hatch from eggs laid by adult beetles on branch and trunk bark and burrow inward to feed mostly on phloem cells, which conduct food manufactured by the leaves and (2) the adult beetles, which feed on ash leaves during the summer and then lay eggs.

Additional Guidance


Regardless of whether you choose to treat or remove your ash tree, do not wait for it to become infested with EAB. As noted before, a healthy ash is more amenable to insecticide treatment than an infested one. Removing an infested, dying or dead ash, especially a large one close to a house or commercial building, is very costly. Ash wood is extremely brittle when dead and subject to shattering on impact with the ground.

Additional information and guidance on deciding whether to treat your ash tree can be found at Is My Ash Tree Worth Treating for Emerald Ash Borer?


Treating Your Ash Tree


Learn about the various methods and chemicals for treating your ash tree and what you need to know about hiring a professional. 

EAB Insecticide Treatment


Removing Your Ash Tree


Call a certified arborist to discuss your private tree removal. 

Disposing of Wood


Any professional contractor you hire to remove your ash is responsible for disposing of it in accordance with state EAB quarantine regulations. If you use it for firewood, please obey the county EAB regulations in effect, which are conveniently and clearly explained on the following map: Firewood Movement Restrictions for Wisconsin Counties.

Ash Wood Processing Options

Other Ways to Use the Wood


The majority of trees removed from private and public property in urban and suburban areas end up getting chipped for mulch or disposal. However, when a tree must come down, there can be a bright future for the log. There are local sawmills and plenty of custom woodworkers and hobbiests that may be interested. The Wood Cycle, located in Oregon, WI runs a sawmill, drying kiln and custom woodworking business that makes cabinetry and furniture using local woods, and also supplies kiln dried urban hardwoods to the Habitat Restore of Dane County. The Wood Cycle can even keep track of your wood and put it back in your home as a finished product.

If you have a tree that needs to come down and want the wood to be put to a good use (other than firewood or woodchips), see if your tree is a good candidate (log criteria). If it is, contact The Wood Cycle and work with a local certified arborist.

Replanting


To begin to restore the environmental, financial and aesthetic benefits your ash tree was once providing and help maintain our community forest canopy, plant a new tree that is suitable for the location and climate.  There are many alternatives to ash.

Arboretum Recommended Trees (native trees for southern Wisconsin)
UW-Extension Alternatives to Ash

Private Trees and City Regulations


The City’s Tree and Shrubbery Ordinance does include regulations for a tree on private property in the event it becomes a public nuisance due to an insect infestation such as EAB. The ordinance can require a homeowner, business owner, or other property owner to remove an ash that shows signs of an EAB infestation if the tree constitutes a nuisance such that it
  1. Interferes with the use of public areas;
  2. Is injurious to public improvements; or
  3. May endanger the life, health, safety, or welfare of persons or property, public or private.
One or more of these criteria can easily pertain to an EAB-infested ash tree that has dying or dead large branches and limbs and is located close to public or private property.