DIY Emerald Ash Borer Treatment

Have you heard of this monster? That's no glammed up grasshopper.
This nightmare and family are responsible for decimating hundreds of millions...that's
...of ash trees in North America alone.
Photo via
As an adult, the Emerald Ash Borer is just a leaf nibbler...the damage occurs in its wormy larva stage, when the borer feeds it's way to adulthood.

That non-stop dinner results in these winding paths through the inner bark of ash trees...
which impede a tree's ability to transfer nutrients and water, causing permanent damage and eventual death to the tree.
If you live in a red dotted area, EAB is already damaging trees there.

We have quite a few large ash trees on our property in western New this beauty next to our driveway.
Once the trees are infested they're difficult to save, so prevention is key.

Do you have ash trees? One of the identifiers are opposing branches (also found with maples, dogwoods and horse chestnuts.
Red dots illustrate the opposing branches.
A quick list of symptoms is:

- D-shaped holes in the outer bark

- Excessive attention from woodpeckers

- Dead branches in the upper canopy

- Loss of leaves in the topmost branches

- A sudden sprout of new leafing toward the lower area of the tree.

Professional treatment options are available, but at $10 per inch of circumference, that would cost more that $3500 per year just to treat my favorites. Sadly, unaffordable!

We needed a DIY solution...and while it, too, offers no least I feel like we're doing SOMETHING to try to save them...or at least stall the progress of these monstrous munchers.
Soil drenching treatment around the base of the tree is about the only DIY option thought to help. It's best done in the spring when the trees break dormancy and can soak up the protection.

Yes, it involves pesticides, and YES, I'd prefer NOT to use them...

However, I'd also prefer not to lose these beautiful trees.
Professionals are able to use stronger chemicals than consumers, but most of the websites we surveyed mention Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control for consumer use.

We added one ounce of product for every inch of tree circumference and mixed it well with water (one gallon for trees under 50"; two gallons for larger trees).
We cleared away between 18-24 inches of mulch and surface soil to create an inverted volcano shape around the base of the trunk...
and poured the mixture around the base. (I'm styling my best garden gear...YOU may want to consider using protective clothing...)

Once it was absorbed into the cleared area, I replaced the surface soil and mulch. I treated 320 inches of tree circumference this past weekend.

Now we'll cross our fingers and hope for the best until next spring, when we we'll repeat this process...for years to come or until the borer wins.

I'm not a professional, so I don't have all the answers. But for a summary of all the steps we followed; the best time to treat; any answers I could find regarding the pesticide risks; and links to all the information and videos we used to guide us, kindly check out the full post at the link below.
EmDirr @
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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 1 comment
  • Rockyroad Rockyroad on Dec 23, 2019

    Once infected , ash trees cannot be saved , preventative control is the only solution by spray or trunk injection ! No known organic treatment . Infected trees must be removed and wood must be destroyed (not just chips) to kill the insect. Map shown does not include Maine , a state where EAB was found in summer/fall of 2019. This very serious insect/disease will eventually wipe out too many millions to comprehend ..... not a question of IF , but WHEN , control will reduce loss in more populated areas !