What’s With All the Dead/Dying Trees? A Closer Look at Emerald Ash Borers

Published On: December 28th, 20213.7 min read

Communities across America’s East Coast are worried about their trees. In the past three years, rates of tree disease and early decline have increased to a noticeable degree. What’s going on?

Three common threats to American trees are gypsy moths, emerald ash borers, and drought. All three challenges are more prevalent than they used to be, thanks to climate change.

What makes these three threats so deadly? And what can Connecticut residents do to protect our trees?

Dying Trees Suffer From Emerald Ash Borers 

The emerald ash borer, or EAB, is a jewel-green beetle native to Asia. It has been working its way across the continent.  First spotted in Connecticut in 2012, it’s become a menace to regional ash trees.

Mature EABs lay eggs under the bark of ash trees. Once born, the beetle larvae feed on the cambium (or vascular layer) of the tree. By doing this they cut off the nutrient transportation system of the tree causing a quick decline in health.

In 2018, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities raised the alarm about this invasive species.

By that time, the EAB had become a public safety problem. Emerald ash borers kill trees at a rapid pace. Then, they spread to the next tree.

More Gypsy Moths and More Dead Trees

Gypsy Moths are another highly destructive species that Connecticut trees have to contend with. Native to Europe, Gypsy Moths first arrived in the US in 1869, by a silkworm enthusiast who thought it could be a hardy producer of silk.

Gypsy Moths have a voracious appetite for the leaves of many species of trees. They especially prefer oak, but will readily consume beech, birch, elm, maples, and more.  A strong population of gypsy moths can devour all the leaves on a tree in weeks, weakening them and causing them to be susceptible to other environmental threats.

Gypsy moth populations are cyclical.  For many years they will not pose a threat; however, over the course of several years the population grows and an outbreak is eventual.  The most recent outbreak in 2017 and 2018 has left many homeowners and municipalities with severely compromised trees on their property.

Droughts Rank Among Top Reasons For Dead Trees in Connecticut

Droughts accelerated the decline of many Connecticut trees. Connecticut experienced droughts from 2012 to mid-2017. The state also suffered from multiple severe, “polar vortex” winters in the past ten years.

These extreme weather cycles are hard on trees. Arborists say droughts, in particular, seem to age trees considerably.

Now, many Eastern Connecticut communities are struggling to deal with thousands of dead trees. Most of these died before their time.

These are just some of the threats our CT trees face.  The agricultural station and DEEP are always looking ahead at potential threats.  Spotted Lantern Fly, Southern Pine Beetle, and Beech Leaf Disease are just a few of the things we are keeping our eye on for the future.

Dying Trees Pose Dangers: Avoid Hazards With Pro Removal

Dead and dying trees aren’t just sad to see. They also pose a danger to our communities.

When a tree is dead, it’s fragile.

Weakened, trees can collapse abruptly. A single white ash tree can weigh thousands of pounds. If it falls without warning, it can be lethal.

And this isn’t hypothetical. According to OSHA, roughly 100 people die every year in tree-fall accidents.

Dead trees are also a fire hazard. The drier a tree is, the quicker it will catch flame in a wildfire.

Many dead trees in one space act like kindling. Recently, environmental scientists analyzed the deadliest wildfires. Their reports revealed that clusters of dead trees significantly contributed to the spread.

So, it’s critical to remove dead trees. But how?

DIY vs. Pro Tree Removal

Amateur tree removal is dangerous. Without professional training, you aren’t prepared for hazards. People who’ve removed trees on their own have suffered injuries from:

  • Hidden power lines
  • Outdated equipment
  • Personal injury hazards
  • Wood rot and decay
  • Abrupt treefall

The best thing to do is keep yourself and your community safe. Connect with a professional. The pros can remove trees safely.

Trees Thrive With Arbortech

Our community’s trees matter. Protect your trees from emerald ash borers, gypsy moths, and other parasites. And, when they can’t be saved, remove dead and dying trees safely.

Arbortech’s professional services get the job done right. Do you need to clear away hazardous trees? Talk to our pros today, and get a free project assessment.

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