How to Identify an Ash Tree

No doubt you’ve heard about the Emerald Ash Borer, the small beetle from China that is killing Ash trees by the thousands around the country. Well, the little bugger (no pun intended) has made it to the Kansas City area and all Ash trees are at risk.

Thanks to this particular pest, all Ash trees will die unless they are treated. I know this sounds outrageous but in this case it is true. If your ash tree isn’t treated, it has a 99.5% chance it won’t survive. 

Of course, Heritage realizes the first step to protecting your Ash trees is knowing whether or not you have any!

Related Read: The Emerald Ash Borer Is Here

Look for an Opposite Branching Pattern

Ash Tree Branching PatternThere are two telltale signs to look for when identifying an Ash tree. First, the branching pattern of all Ash trees and Maples is what is referred to as “opposite branching”.

Opposite branching simply means that on a limb, wherever there is a branch on one side, there will be a branch mirroring it on the other. This differs from “alternate branch” patterns where branches aren’t directly across from each other.

Because Maples and Ash trees both share this trait, when you notice opposite branching, you can narrow it down to one of these two types of trees.

Look for a Compound Leaf

Canada FlagNext, you’ll have to differentiate between Maple and Ash by looking at the leaves. Maple trees have the classic Maple leaf shape (think Canada’s flag). So if you see the opposite branching pattern, but it has these leaves, you can rest assured it’s a Maple tree, not an Ash.

Ash Tree BranchAsh trees feature compound leaf patterns. Their leaves are narrow and come to a single point. A leaf will be one large twig with 7-9 leaflets attached to that one twig. The leaf pattern? You guessed it – opposite leaf pattern. Each leaf will have another directly across from it. It looks like this photo.

Check out this video for easy Ash tree identification: How to Identify an Ash Tree

Consider an Eco-Friendly EAB Treatment Option

If you determine that you have an Ash tree and want to save it, you must have it treated. To continue to protect the tree from the EAB, it will need to be treated every two years. The treatment is a trunk-injection that kills the beetles’ larvae feeding under the bark.

Heritage offers the only OMRI Organic Alternative treatment in Kansas City. We have teamed up with BioForest Technologies to bring this option, called TreeAzin, to you. TreeAzin is effective at controlling Emerald Ash Borers and it is environmentally responsible.

Timing of Treatment Is Critical: May and June

The most effective trunk injections occur after trees have leafed out in spring, but before the EAB eggs have hatched, generally between May and June. Trees respond best when they are actively growing and transpiring.

During the transpiration process, water moves from the soil into plant roots, up through the wood and into the leaves. The water, warmed by the sun, evaporates, and passes out through thousands of tiny pores mostly on the underside of the leaf surface. This process cools the plant and delivers water and minerals to the leaves for photosynthesis, while also helping to deliver the product throughout the tree.

If you have an Ash tree and want to save it, call Heritage Lawns & Irrigation today so we can treat it in time. Call us at (913) 451-4664.