Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Treating the ash trees with Bayer Insect Control

Here in Michigan, the emerald ash borer has reeked havoc with one species of our native trees, the green ash and white ash.  It's sad to see large areas of nothing but dead trees.   The numerous dead trees have also contributed to electrical blackouts every time there is a storm or high winds.

One of the first projects on our to do list, when we purchased our home, was to cut down a lot of dead trees. It was sad to cut down such large trees but the next year we had even more dead trees.  We were shocked when what appeared to be a very large healthy tree died over the span of just one winter. Spring came and only a few leaves sprouted and they abruptly died and fell off.  Then several other trees slowly died over the next few years.

The large tree in the center of the photo is a almost dead ash that needs to be removed this year.
We started treating the remaining ash trees with Bayer 12 month Tree and Shrub Insect Control and over the course of 7 years we have lost only 2 more ash trees.  Those two trees were already quite infested with the emerald ash borer when we started treating them so the treatment prolonged there life but couldn't undo the damage that was already done.

Our remaining ash trees are doing quite well.  One is a very large tree that shades our largest hosta bed.  There are some dead branches that will need to be removed with a lift but those branches have been there for some time now.  Another large ash tree shades another hosta bed in front of the house. That ash tree used to drop leaves in the middle of the summer but that has stopped now and the tree has actually grown. We know that both of these trees have some infestation but it has not increased and the trees have continued to increase in size.

The large tree in the center background shades our largest hosta bed.

The tall tree in the center of the photo has recovered nicely since we started treating it.
Every spring we hold our breath until the ash trees buds and leaf out.  Unfortunately for us, the ash trees and our one sycamore are the last to leaf out.

Bayer was very expensive when we first started using it.  Over the years, the price has come down and occasionally they offer rebates.  But when you consider the cost vs the devastation of your landscaping it's really a 'no brainer' and it's worth every penny.

We treat our trees once in the beginning of the spring/summer and once in the fall, usually September. The treatment is mixed with water and poured around the base of the tree.  Our garden plants are no where near the ash trees so I think we are safe from any run off.

I have tried to reduce my use of chemicals and treat both my garden plants and rose bushes with organic fertilizers.  I have also replaced a popular vegetation killer with a mixture of vinegar/Epsom salt/Dawn soap. This is the first year of using that mixture and I am hoping that it is at least 50% as effective as the store bought vegetation killers.  You can see in the photo above where I sprayed it around the base of the tree.  I do this so I do not damage the tree bark with the weed whacker or the lawn mower.

Large trees are so beautiful and nothing is as peaceful as hearing the leaves rustle in the wind, it is so sad that we are losing so many large trees due to infestation of insects from foreign countries.  This is definitely one of the downsides of a global market place.

I'll end on a positive note.  I read an article last summer that said it appears that the woodpeckers have discovered the emerald ash borer.  We have always hung suet out for the woodpeckers, so now we try even harder to attract our little bug eating bird friends to our yard.

Does anyone else have any tried and true methods for treating sycamore trees?  We love our tree but we now they have problems.  Our tree is about 6 inches in diameter so we figure if we treat it early that we should be in good shape.