Dead Ash Tree - Worm-like Pattern Under Bark
This is one of my neighbor's Ash trees. They have a half-dozen or so that have are dead and still standing. The photo above is striking for two reasons: the worm-like pattern that is on the tree is the most noticeable. But, look closer: see all the holes? All over the tree? That's from the Emerald Ash Borer and why the tree is dead.
Here's a closer look at a couple of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) holes on this tree:
There doesn't appear to be any of the Borers hanging around as I presume these trees were killed years ago when the Borer first appeared in Illinois. The Morton Arboretum suggests that the Emerald Ash Borer is so pervasive that it expects that EVERY Ash Tree in Illinois will be killed. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
What happens when all the Ash trees are gone? Will the Borers move on? Fly somewhere else? Just die off? Or, will they adapt to the environment and start to attack other species of trees? That's terrifying.
Here (below) is a look at the tree in question that shows it standing tall and proud. But dead and gone. The house will be torn down and so too, will this tree. That will be a fun day - to watch the demo happen.
Maybe I should go talk to the builders and see if we can harvest some of it for firewood? I have to think that the larvae are long gone, right? We're only moving it 100 feet (so no cross-border movement!) and I would be seasoning it for the better part of a year before we got to burning it next year. Maybe it is something we could burn in out outdoor fireplace exclusively? All wishful/hopeful thinking of course.
As for that pattern at the top of this post? That, too, is certain to be a sign of the Emerald Ash Borer. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, that pattern is part of why these trees die - not just the holes: From the Emerald Ash Borer in Illinois info page:
The adult Emerald Ash Borer emerges May - July and the female lays numerous eggs in bark crevices and layers.
The eggs hatch in 7-10 days into larvae, which bore into the tree where they chew the inner bark and phloem, creating winding galleries as they feed. This cuts off the flow of water and nutrients in the tree, thereby causing the tree's dieback and death.Emphasis, mine.