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.
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
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
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
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.
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
The International Society of Arboriculture certifies industry professionals, who are held to a code of ethics and are encouraged to follow industry standards. TIPS
The state of Tennessee and insurance companies protect owners of healthy trees that damage others' property as a result of acts of nature like tornadoes.
EAB-infested trees, whether dead or unhealthy, can be deemed hazardous and any damages may become the responsibility of the tree owner if the tree’s poor health status was apparent.
Your tree. It is essential to identify any at-risk trees, evaluate the potential for damage and danger to others, manage your sick trees, and monitor them for safety.
Your neighbor's tree. Communication over shared trees is essential. You have the right to trim branches that extend into your yard from your neighbor’s trees as long as it does not harm your neighbor’s tree. But it's not good tree care to lop branches off at the property line. Work with your neighbor to prune them at the trunk. Uncooperative tree owners, however, can be notified of protective actions through a certified letter or a witnessed verbal communication.
NOTE: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney or insuror for details of your coverage for liability.
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.
The Metro Brush Collection program is not for commercial properties.
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.