EAB in Nashville

Managing the emerald ash borer infestation in Davidson County


Emerald ash borer was found in Davidson County in 2014. No ash tree is immune to the devastating effects of this invasive pest. By 2020, all native ash trees will be dead or dying unless treated.


How you can help

EAB quickly infests new areas when people move larvae inside firewood, nursery stock, and packing crates and other items made from ash wood.

Keep hardwood firewood local: Buy from a local or certified firewood dealer where you use it. Wood from affected trees may be used if it is professionally treated. MORE dont move firewood


What is EAB?

Emerald ash borer is an invasive Asian pest infesting all species of North American ash trees, including white, blue and green, as well as white fringetree. The larvae feed under the bark and shut off water and nutrients. After the first symptoms appear, a tree can die in one to three years. Learn more

Do I have an ash?


Ash trees have opposing branches on each side of the main stem. Leaves have five to eleven leaflets with toothed or smooth edges on a short stalk, or without a stalk. Young trees have smooth bark; mature bark has a tight diamond pattern. Oar-shaped seeds usually occur in clusters and hang from mid-summer until early winter. Mature ash trees can reach 100 feet. ash ID

dyingShoots from roots and trunk

Is my tree infested?

Declining crown, branches, and leaves is often the first visible sign. Peeling back the bark reveals characteristic serpentine galleries. Adult beetles exit the tree through a distinctive D-shaped, pencil-sized hole. Other signs include small sprouts growing from the roots or trunk and heavy woodpecker damage.

sizeD-hole and relative size


Let tree die or treat it

Let it die. If the tree is in the woods or an open area where its fall would not block access  or cause physical or property damage, you can let it die naturally in place and decompose.

Remove it. You can be proactive and have your tree cut down before it dies. If it is not accessible by a bucket truck, then it needs to be cut down before it becomes too brittle to climb.


Treat it. Sustained insecticide control requires soil, bark, or injection treatments every two years for 15 to 20 years. This option is often chosen for high-value specimen or historic trees. Treatments may be applied by the homeowner or a licensed professional. It's best to treat your tree before it is infested to help build resistance. While insecticide can treat an infested tree, it is most effective in the first year of infestation. Options

Cost: Professional treatments currently cost about $10 per inch of diameter every two years for up to 20 years. Professional removal can cost from $800 to $1,200. Decision Guide


Hiring an arborist

The International Society of Arboriculture certifies industry professionals, who are held to a code of ethics and are encouraged to follow industry standards. TIPS

Find an arborist


Tree debris disposal

Storing infected ash wood without grinding furthers the spread of EAB. Trees must be chipped to one square inch to destroy the EAB’s ability to live. Metro Nashville's Brush Collection program meets this standard.

Residential property receives four pick-ups per year. GET REMINDER Davidson County residents may take their yard brush for free to the Bordeaux Mulch Facility, 1400 County Hospital Road.

The Metro Brush Collection program is not for commercial properties.


Be sure to replant!

EAB is only one of many threats to Nashville's tree canopy. As a million new residents pour into the city, it is essential to keep our tree canopy working for us.

Be sure to replant any trees you must remove, and help ensure Nashville has a wide diversity of trees. This EAB infestation shows that a healthy urban forest has a variety of trees, creating resiliency from the next invasive infestation.

Get a recommended tree list for Nashville here. The list is divided between deciduous and evergreens and notes smaller understory trees. Remember during the first three years, trees need deep watering throughout the growing season, especially during a drought.

Trees make a difference!

Shade the city, cool urban hotspots


Cut health costs, reduce asthma and cancer rates


Reduce crime rates, increase property values


Reduce pollution, improve air quality


Reduce runoff, prevent erosion


Conserve energy, cut costs

ADVISORY PANEL Chris Armour, Trees Nashville • Jennifer Smith, Metro Horticulturalist
IMAGE CREDITS: EAB on leaf: Jared Spokowsky, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org • EAB closeup, Treatment, Larva: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org • Opposing branches: David L. Roberts, Michigan State University Extension • Root shoots: Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, Bugwood.org • D-hole: Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry, Bugwood.org • Penny: Howard Russell, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org • Galleries: Art Wagner, USDA-APHIS, Bugwood.org • Dieback: Michigan State University, USDA Forest Service • Chipper: Metro Public Works