Ash tree bark images

Contents

Solving Problems of Mountain Ash

Solving Problems of Mountain Ash
Symptoms Probable Causes
Holes in Lower Trunk Borers
Leaves Curled; Discolored Aphids
Holes in Leaves Sawflies
Leaves and Branches With Small Bumps Scale
Brown Spots on Leaves; Withering Mites
Flowers and Shoots Wilt Suddenly in Spring Fire Blight
Rust Colored Spots on Leaves Rust
Dead Spots on Leaves; Shoots Blighted

Scab

Splitting Bark Sun Scald
Holes In Lower Trunk Indicates Borers.
The biggest nuisance pest of mountain ash trees is borers such as the flat-headed apple tree borer or the round-headed borer. The latter is the larva of a beetle that is about 3/4 inch long, brown with white stripes down its back. It emerges to lay its eggs on bark in April. The larva, which are light yellow worms with black heads, hatch and burrow into the trunk of the mountain ash. Signs of their activity are galleries in the trunk bark near the base of the tree, round holes about the diameter of a lead pencil, and frass (sawdust) nearby.
To control borers examine the tree closely before the spring season arrives and cut and burn any dying stems below the borer holes. In June, crush any eggs that are visible on the bark. During the summer season, check to see if fresh frass is being pushed from small borer holes. Such holes should be cut out with a sharp knife. If the tunnels are fairly straight, the borer can be killed by probing with a flexible wire, or pulled out by means of a hooked wire to make certain it is destroyed. Borers can also be killed with nicotine sulfate. Dip a piece of cotton or soft cloth into a solution of 1 part nicotine sulfate to 4 parts water, and stuff it into the borer’s hole or try injecting nicotine paste into the holes. Another approach is to shoot BT into each hole at ten-day intervals until no more frass appears. A special hypodermic needle for applying BT is available. In any case, coat or seal wounds with tree paint, putty, paraffin, or chewing gum. A black light trap may prove effective against the adult beetles in May or June. For heavy infestations spray the trunks and main branches of affected trees with methoxychlor in mid-May. Repeat the spray 3 times at 2-week intervals. Always practice clean cultivation and burn all weeds, stems and plant remains likely to harbor over wintering eggs.
For more information see file on Dealing with Borers.
Holes in Leaves due to Sawflies.
Mountain ash sawfly lays eggs on tree leaves in late May. The larva are green caterpillars with black dots. They hatch and set to work eating the foliage from early June to mid July. They skeletonize leaves, leaving only the midrib and veins. Handpicking can take care of mild infestations on smaller trees. For heavier assaults spray the foliage of vulnerable trees with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) just before you expect the caterpillars to begin feeding. Repeat the spray in 2 weeks or if it rains. The young larvae will ingest the bacteria and die in a matter of days. If sawfly infestations are heavy and it is well into July, spray mountain ash foliage with Sevin or Bonide’s Eight
Leaves And Branches With Small Bumps Indicates Scale.
Several kinds of scale insects sometimes attack mountain ash trees. Under the protection of small, round waxy shells, they feed on small branches and leaf undersides sucking plant sap. These telltale shells may be whitish, light brown, tan or black in color. Scale over winters in a partially grown condition. It starts feeding in late March or early April, and lays eggs in June and July. There is usually only one generation a year. The symptoms of scale include reduced vigor, yellow spotting of the leaves, brownish bumps on leaves and twigs, and sooty mold growing on sticky honeydew secreted by the pests.
For more information see file on Dealing with Scale.
Brown Spots on Leaves, Withering means Mites.
The pear leaf blister mite will sometimes attack mountain ash. These tiny pests are only 1/125 inch long, virtually impossible to see. What is obvious is the brown spots (blisters) that they cause in leaves as they feed. Infested leaves wither and drop prematurely. Start control measures as soon as you notice the first stippling on the leaves. Spray tree foliage in the early morning with a forceful water spray to knock the mites off the leaf undersides. Repeat the water spray daily for three days. If that doesn’t do the job, spray the mites with insecticidal soap combined with pyrethrum every 3 to 5 days for two weeks. Spray mountain ash trees with dormant oil in early spring before their leaves emerge to kill over wintering mites.
For more information see file on Dealing with Mites.
Flowers And Shoots Wilt Suddenly In Spring Due to Fire Blight.
This disease, caused by a bacterium, is spread by insects and rain. It usually begins in blossoms, brought from host plants by bees as they search for pollen. The bacterium multiply and infect other tissues. New shoots may wilt suddenly in late spring, turn black or brown and die. The infection may spread down the mountain ash tree to involve large branches. Large cankers, or sores, develop on the trunk and main branches. Trees that have been over fertilized with nitrogen are very susceptible to this disease. If possible, destroy any nearby diseased and neglected pear, quince and apple trees, since they may harbor the fire blight organism. Between November and March, cut off affected branches on mountain ash at least 3 inches below the damaged area. Discard diseased branches in the trash. Before each cut, disinfect the pruning saw or shears with rubbing alchol. Spray trees with an antibiotic wettable powder, such as Agri-Strep, when 25% of the blossoms are open and at 5 to 10 day intervals during bloom. In the east, three applications are necessary for control five or more may be needed in California. Applied in time, the antibiotic will prevent infection from becoming deeply established. It is not effective if this has already occurred. To deal with deep infection, surgically remove the cankers that develop as repositories for the infection, or paint them with specially formulated chemical paint which will penetrate to the gall and destroy the germs.
Dead Spots on Leaves; Shoots Blighted Means Scab.
Apple scab is a fungal disease found in most types of apple trees and many ornamental trees and shrubs. It affects both surfaces of the newer, succulent leaves and stems of mountain ash trees causing spots that swell, and turn brown. This tissue dies and leaves and stems appear blighted. Olive brown colored spores develop on the dead tissues and over winter there. The disease develops when the temperatures are moderate, but the humidity is high in the spring and early summer. There are very few natural controls for this disease. It is essential that fallen leaves and debris around infected trees is cleaned up and put in the trash. Spraying or dusting a fungicide such as Captan on new growth early in the season will help protect trees.

UK ash tree die back – a viewpoint on the infection of ash trees by the Chalara fraxinea fungus

Images by kind permission of Thomas Kirisits, Josef Wampl, Christian Freinschlag, Katharina Kräutler and Michaela Matlakova of the Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection (IFFF), Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Vienna, Austria

Since infected ash saplings were found at Buckingham Nurseries at the beginning of 2012 the UK ash die back crisis has reached fever pitch, with many column inches devoted to both blame and cure. With such media attention, it’s no surprise that anyone with an ash tree on their land (or even near it) is starting to worry.

We at Ashridge Nurseries have had a number of enquiries, from both customers and others, about the health of their trees. However, the fact that we are well into autumn, when even healthy ash trees are losing their leaves, means that any diagnosis isn’t straightforward. We hope that the collection of pictures in this article will help you to decide more clearly whether your trees are infected, or simply getting ready for the winter.

We’ve also had enquiries about plants other than ash that are exhibiting leaf loss. It’s important to recognise that the fungus causing ash die back, Chalara fraxinea, ONLY INFECTS ASH (Fraxinus being Latin for the ash family). You can rest assured that trees other than ash (including Mountain Ash, which is a rowan and completely unrelated) will not be affected by the ash die back fungus. If you’re concerned about a tree other than ash, your first call should be to a local nursery or tree surgeon.

Page 2 of this article presents detailed images of diseased trees from other countries suffering from the Chalara fraxinea infection. You can click on each image for the full-size version, which should help you identify whether your trees are carrying the fungus.

Ash dieback disease in pictures

This section presents a gallery of ash dieback disease symptoms. It shows examples (from countries outside of the UK) of branch lesions, leaf loss, crown dieback, and, finally, the sexual stage of the fungus, a trumpet-shaped mushroom called Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus. It is this final stage that will release Chalara fraxinea spores into the air, looking to reinfect ash tree leaves.

Click the pictures to view full size…

Fig 1: In the foreground is a (presently) healthy common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) with a leafy crown – and in the background, a diseased ash having had most of its crown die back to the trunk.

Healthy ash at risk from nearby diseased tree (credit: Thomas Kirisits) Fig 2: A key symptom of ash dieback disease is a (sort of) diamond-shaped canker or lesion where the fungus has invaded, usually where a slimmer stem meets a thicker branch. The lesion then spreads both ways along the branch, out towards the ends, and back towards the trunk.

Various Chalara Cankers (credit: Thomas Kirisits)Diseased ash branches
(credit: Thomas Kirisits)

Fig 3: Lesions caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus.

Various ash die back lesions
(credits: Katharina Kräutler, Michaela Matlakova, Thomas Kirisits)

Fig 4: If you cut into the tree or split a slimmer branch lengthways, you can see how deeply the disease penetrates.

Canker damage half the width of the trunk
(credits: Katharina Kräutler, Michaela Matlakova, Thomas Kirisits)Surface hints at significant interior damage (credits: Katharina Kräutler, Michaela Matlakova, Thomas Kirisits)

Fig 5: Once the lesion has encircled the branch, it cuts off all nutritional support above it. This causes leaf loss from the tips of the branches inwards, giving Chalara fraxinea its common name of Ash Dieback Disease.

Distinct pattern of leaf loss
(credit: Thomas Kirisits)

Fig 6: Ash die back is progressive. As it spreads and its lesions grow, more leaves are lost closer to the trunk and the tree loses its crown, until the entire tree has ‘died back’.

More diseased ash – Photo T. Kiritsis Severely diseased ash tree

Fig 7: The reproductive stage of the disease (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) thrives in damp vegetation on the floor. These small trumpet-shaped mushrooms will eventually release ash die back spores into the air to find new ash leaves to infect.

Reproductive stage of chalara fungus ready to release new spores
(credit: Thomas Kirisits) The disease in the UK is currently in the leaves and branches of infected trees. It would reach its reproductive (sexual) stage around spring 2013, once infected leaves, twigs and branches have fallen to the floor and incubated the reproductive stage. Official advice is not to disturb ash leaves and debris. Our view is that it is better to rake them up in winter and burn them before the spores are released in spring.

Are any ash species disease resistant?

Many ash tree owners and suppliers are talking about disease resistant ash species. Dr Kirisits of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna (a botanist who has been studying the disease full time since 2009, and who is a world expert on the subject) advises caution regarding claims that some ash species and varieties may be immune as more time and more observations are needed.

Until test plantings and subsequent monitoring has taken place, no ash should be regarded as die back resistant.

Overall, Fraxinus excelsior (Common Ash) and Fraxinus angustifolia (Narrow-Leafed Ash) appear to be highly susceptible, along with most of their varieties. The reproductive stage of C. fraxinea (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) has also been recorded in Europe on Fraxinus pennsylvanica, F. nigra, F. americana (Green Ash, Black Ash and American Ash, all from North America) and F. mandshurica (Manchurian Ash, from Asia).

More exotic examples such as Fraxinus ornus (Southern European Flowering Ash) do not show the same susceptibility but would be of very limited value in the British climate.

In fact, climatic conditions have a significant impact on the growth and spread of the disease. Countries with ash trees in damper climates (such as the UK) will have a tougher time containing the disease than drier, warmer regions on the continent. It also follows that in warmer urban areas, especially where leaves are routinely removed from streets, the risk is somewhat lower than rural farmland. Dr Kiritsits thinks this is important – good hygiene reduces the impact of the disease.

As such, the advice and action around washing boots, animals, cars, tools and anything else that may have been in contact with the fungus should be taken very seriously.

In conclusion

There are three important points to take from this article:

  • Please remember that it is natural for many trees to lose their leaves every autumn. Ash is one of these and loses its leaves earlier than most others. So don’t confuse natural autumn leaf loss with ash die back disease
    • use the pictures on the previous page as a guide to look for cankers, leaf loss and crown die back
  • Be reassured that leaf loss in trees other than ash will not be caused by the ash die back fungus
    • if you’re still concerned, consult with your local nursery or tree surgeon for advice
  • Practice good hygiene
    • our advice is to rake up and burn all ash leaf and twig litter in winter.

Ash die back seems to be carried on imported stock, the wind, and via moisture. There are infected woods in the UK that were almost certainly infected “naturally”. There are about 80 million ash trees in the UK and any widespread treatment is simply not feasible. We must therefore resign ourselves to losing some large proportion of the ash tree population over the coming years.

Not all, however, as some are naturally resistant to the disease. In 2011 there were 21 countries in the European Union that had ash die back, but all have ash trees surviving with no apparent ill effects in forests that have been decimated by the disease. So there is hope – in time we will inevitably propagate from resistant trees and breed even more resistant varieties.

Ash Tree Bark Stock Photos and Images

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  • Ash Tree Bark; Fraxinus excelsior; UK
  • Fraxinus excelsior. Ash tree bark in autumn
  • The bark of a Common Ash tree, Fraxinus excelsior, grown in Oklahoma, USA.
  • ash; ash-tree; bark;
  • Close-up of a Swamp Ash Tree Bark Background Texture.
  • ash tree bark with cracks and texture
  • Ash tree,tree trunk, tree bark
  • European or Common Ash Tree (Fraxinus excelsior). Bark pattern on a mature or middle aged tree. Norfolk. England.
  • Ash tree, Britain, 2012 – lesions in the bark of a young ash tree specimen in Scotland.
  • Ash tree bark, Fraxinus excelsior
  • Zanthoxylum americanum – prickly ash bark herb
  • A Carolina chickadee hanging off a mountain ash tree.
  • Close-up of ash tree bark with green moss
  • Ash tree bark. Tree bark close up.
  • Fraxinus excelsior, Ash
  • Pest, probably rabbit, damage to the bark of an ash tree, following severe winter weather, Northumberland, England, UK
  • Detail of bark of old ash tree, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Ash tree bark (Fraxinus excelsior) close up detail, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK, November
  • Liverworth Frullania sp. growing on the bark of the ash tree Stapton Ley Devon UK Europe
  • Ash Tree Bark; Fraxinus excelsior; UK
  • Warty bark of the half hardy prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum ailanthoides
  • Ash tree with emerald ash borer damage revealed by beaver gnawing. Beetle larvae tracks and beaver tooth marks evident.
  • ash; ash-tree; bark;
  • Close-up of a Swamp Ash Tree Bark Background Texture.
  • Arborist cuts down healthy ash tree near house in Vermont fearing that it will succumb to emerald ash borers and become dangerous standing deadwood.
  • European mountain-ash, rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia), bark, Germany
  • Red deer hind (Cervus elaphus) feeding on rowan / mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia) in brushwood at forest’s edge in autumn
  • Bark of White Ash tree (Fraxinus by Dominique Braud/Dembinsky Photo Assoc
  • Ash tree bark, Fraxinus excelsior
  • detail of mature ash tree bark for use as background texture
  • A Carolina wren hanging from an ash tree during a snow storm.
  • Old Ash tree with gnarled moss-covered bark
  • Ivy (Hedera helix) growing & climbing on the trunk of an ash tree
  • Ash tree,tree trunk, tree bark
  • ash tree bark with cracks and texture
  • Detail of ivy growing on old ash tree, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Ash tree bark (Fraxinus excelsior) close up detail, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK, November
  • Liverworth Frullania sp. growing on the bark of the ash tree Stapton Ley Devon UK Europe
  • common ash, ash, fraxinus excelsior, fruits, bark, wood, tree, deciduous tree
  • Pinnate foliage and spreading habit of the half hardy prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum ailanthoides
  • Old Cankerous Ash Tree Trunk (Fraxinus excelsior) on an Autumn Day. Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
  • ash; ash-tree; bark;
  • The texture of the ash tree bark overgrown with moss close up 2018
  • Arborist cuts down healthy ash tree near house in Vermont fearing that it will succumb to emerald ash borers and become dangerous standing deadwood.
  • European mountain-ash, rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia), bark, Germany
  • Lichen covered ash tree bark. Textured pattern. Brecon Beacons, February
  • Bark of White Ash tree (Fraxinus by Dominique Braud/Dembinsky Photo Assoc
  • Bark of Common Ash tree, Fraxinus excelsior
  • The fissured bark of a White Ash (Fraxinus americana) tree. The bark has lichen growing on it providing a green highlight.
  • A male downy woodpecker hitched to an ash tree during a North Carolina snow fall.
  • Old Ash tree with gnarled moss-covered bark on a muddy track
  • Ash (Fraxixinus excelsior) bark texture
  • Remains of tree with bark stripped off at side facing volcano in forest destroyed by pyroclastic flows on Chaiten Volcano, Chile
  • Entwined hearts cut into bark of young ash tree, This has been freshly cut during the winter with a sharp kinfe and only into the top layer of bark.
  • High Dynamic Range image of bark on the trunk of a mature Ash tree. Taken in Scotland, UK.
  • Ash tree bark (Fraxinus excelsior) close up detail, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK, November
  • Trunk and branches of an old Ash tree
  • Bark on the trunk of an ash tree.
  • Pinnate foliage and spreading habit of the half hardy prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum ailanthoides
  • Silver Bark of the Rowan Tree or Mountain Ash (Sorbs).Natural Background. Abernathy, Perth, Scotland, UK. July, 2018.
  • A woman walks past the red tree bark of the Paperbark Satin-ash Syzygium papyraceum, Kauri Creek walk, Far North Queensland, Austra
  • The texture of the ash tree bark overgrown with moss close up 2018
  • Arborist cuts down healthy ash tree near house in Vermont fearing that it will succumb to emerald ash borers and become dangerous standing deadwood.
  • wafer ash, hop tree, stinking ash (Ptelea trifoliata), bark
  • Vector seamless pattern of ash tree bark seasonal texture forest. Creative art abstract banner decorative nature abstract background backdrop
  • Bark of White Ash tree (Fraxinus by Dominique Braud/Dembinsky Photo Assoc
  • Gemeine Esche, Gewöhnliche Esche, Esche, Rinde, Borke, Stamm, Baumstamm, Fraxinus excelsior, Common Ash, European Ash, Ash, bark, rind, trunk, stem, L
  • Unusual Raised Feature with Markings on a Dead Ash Tree Possibly Caused by the Burrowing Larva of the Clearwing Moth.
  • Ash tree seedlings will grow anywhere – here growing on bark chippings on top of a weed control membrane
  • Close up of the bark of a Rowan or Mountain Ash tree
  • Bark of Ash Tree
  • Ancient Ash Tree
  • Entwined hearts cut into bark of young ash tree, This has been freshly cut during the winter with a sharp kinfe and only into the top layer of bark.
  • bark of Fraxinus excelsior tree
  • Ash tree bark (Fraxinus excelsior) close up detail, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK, November
  • Close up of an Ash tree in winter
  • Fraxinus excelsior, Ash tree
  • Pinnate foliage and late summer flowers of the half hardy prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum ailanthoides
  • Large Old Ash Tree Trunk (Fraxinus excelsio)r Growing Round Barbed. Scottish Deciduous Woodland. Muir of Dinnet, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK. May, 2018.
  • Red tree bark of the Paperbark Satin ash Syzygium papyraceum, red filter photo using a fuji x100f camera, Kauri Creek walk, Queensland, Australia
  • Bark of a European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), detail, Moenchbruch Nature Reserve, near Frankfurt, Hesse
  • Arborist cuts down healthy ash tree near house in Vermont fearing that it will succumb to emerald ash borers and become dangerous standing deadwood.
  • European mountain-ash, rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia), bark, Germany
  • Common ash tree, tree trunks.
  • background bark ash
  • Gemeine Esche, Gewöhnliche Esche, Esche, Rinde, Borke, Stamm, Baumstamm, Fraxinus excelsior, Common Ash, European Ash, Ash, bark, rind, trunk, stem, L
  • Unusual Raised Feature with Markings on a Dead Ash Tree Possibly Caused by the Burrowing Larva of the Clearwing Moth.
  • Ash tree seedlings will grow anywhere – here growing on bark chippings on top of a weed control membrane
  • Close up of the bark of a Rowan or Mountain Ash tree
  • Ash-tree. Nature background. Winter tree. Tree background.
  • The Guardian Ash Tree on the banks of the River Derwent at Cockermouth, Cumbria
  • Marked for Cutting: An emerald ash borer claims another victim. A large sick ash tree on a city street marked for cutting.
  • bark of Fraxinus excelsior tree
  • Ancient steel footpath sign do not trespass eroded and rusted away with Ash tree bark overlapping and incorporating into its trunk, Fraxinus excelsior
  • Perfect ash tree with lush green foliage and nice shape isolated on pure white background
  • Fraxinus excelsior, Ash tree
  • Pinnate foliage and late summer flowers of the half hardy prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum ailanthoides
  • Bark. Odina Wodier. Family: Anacardiaceae. A common deciduous tree from the forests of peninsular India. The gum is used for siz
  • Red tree bark of the Paperbark Satin ash Syzygium papyraceum, red filter photo using a fuji x100f camera, Kauri Creek walk, Queensland, Australia
  • Great Ash Sphinx (Sphinx chersis) Moth on White Ash tree. Ferncliff Wildflower and Wildlife Preserve, Lancaster Co.,PA summer.

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How do I know if I have an ash tree?

Ash trees are one of the common native tree species in the eastern United States, and they are also frequently planted as street or landscaping trees. There are three common species of ash in middle Tennessee: white ash (Fraxinus americana), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata). White and green ash are the most commonly planted species in the Nashville area, while blue ash is a common wild tree in areas with limestone soil.

On this page, we won’t try to distinguish between white and green ash. It is possible to separate them based on technical characters, but both of them are equally susceptible to the emerald ash borer (EAB), with a mortality rate of about 100%. So regardless of the species, if you have one of the two, it is not likely to survive without treatment. Blue ash is easily distinguished by its square twigs. It is reported to have an EAB survival rate of about 50%. So it is possible that some blue ash trees may survive without treatment.

Fruits

The winged fruits of ash trees are unmistakable. In a good year, a tree produces many thousands of them. However, individual ash trees have different genders and only female trees produce fruits. Also, the amount of fruit produced from year to year varies. A particular female tree may produce fruit abundantly one year and produce almost no fruit the next year. If a tree is a male, you will never see fruit on it. So if you see the characteristic fruit, you know that you have an ash tree. If you don’t see fruit, then you need to check other characters.

Ash fruits (left: white ash, right: green ash)

Click on an image for further information about it.

Leaves

Ash leaves are pinnately compound. That means that the leaflets are arranged in rows on opposite sides of the central “stem” (rachis) of the leaf. White and green ash leaves typically have 5 to 9 leaflets, while blue ash typically has 7 to 11 leaflets. There are a number of common tree species that have leaves like this.
However, most of them have leaves that are arranged alternately on the twig, whereas ash tree leaves are arranged oppositely on the twig. Box elder (Acer negundo) is the only common non-ash, pinnately compound tree in middle Tennessee, and it usually only has 3 to 5 leaflets. As a maple, box elder also has the “helicopter” fruits typical of maples, rather than the “canoe paddle” fruits of ashes. See below for images of box elder.

Left: Individual green ash leaf. Right: several white ash leaves

Twigs

In ashes, leaves come off of the twig in pairs from opposite sides of the twig. The twig color can range from brown to gray, but is NOT bright green (compare to box elder below).

Left: White ash twig. Right: blue ash twig; notice the square stem

Bark

The bark of small ash trees isn’t particularly distinctive. However, large ash trees have a characteristic bark pattern shown below.

Left: Bark of a large green ash tree. Right: Bark of a large white ash tree.

Click on the left image for further information. The photographer of the right image is anonymous.

Box elder

As mentioned above, besides the ash species, box elder (Acer negundo) is the only common native tree that has pinnately compound leaves that are opposite on the stem. However, it is easily recognized by its fewer leaflets, green twigs, and “helicopter” maple fruits.

Left: box elder leaf. Right: typical green box elder twig.

Click on the image for further information about the image.

box elder fruits

Click on the image for further information about it.

For More Information

If you want to know more about the Emerald Ash Borer and its arrival in the Nashville area, see the Vanderbilt Arboretum Emerald Ash Borer web page.

For a more detailed key to common native trees in middle Tennessee, see the Illustrated key to common trees of middle Tennessee.

Written 2015-04-29 by Steve Baskauf

With the exception of the white ash bark photo, photos on this page are copyright Steven J. Baskauf and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Click on the individual images for more detailed intellectual property and attribution information. For use in Emerald Ash Borer education, these images may be freely used with attribution and without contacting the copyright holder.

Lacebark elm

Tree & Plant Care

Tolerant of urban conditions. Do not prune elm trees between mid-April and mid-October.

Disease, pests, and problems

Elm yellows and elm leaf miner are possible problems.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

This species shows good resistance to Dutch elm disease, elm leaf beetle and Japanese beetle.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China, Korea and Japan.

Bark color and texture

The bark of this species is very different from the bark of other elms. It is thinner and has a mottled appearance, with pieces of bark peeling away.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, simple leaves that have the typical shape of an elm leaf, but are smaller than most elm species (3/4 to 2 inches long). Toothed leaf margins.
Dark green in summer, changing to yellow and reddish purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous; produced in late summer rather than in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The fruit is a seed in small oval samara (seed case with wings for wind dispersal).

Cultivars and their differences

Allee® lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer II’): More vase-shaped than the species. Distinctive, attractive, peeling bark characteristics. Highly resistant to Dutch elm disease and elm leaf beetle. Dark green leaves turn light yellow in fall.

Athena® lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer I’): Rounded shape, with dark green foliage and limited fall color. Distinctive peeling bark. Highly resistant to Dutch elm disease and elm leaf beetle.

The next phase of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation –

Paradise Lake

One of my neighbors recently asked me what was causing the bark to fall off of his ash trees even though it did not have dead limbs at the top. I have to admit to some initial uncertainty about the cause. After all, by now we are aware of the warning signs of an EAB infestation – dying upper branches, water sprouts lower on the trunk, D-shaped holes in the bark, and girdling channels in the phloem underneath the bark left by hungry EAB larvae.

But what is causing the yellowing swatches of bark on the lower tree trunks? I am aware of a fungal infection that affects the lower bark on ash trees, and I can identify deer rub damage, but this is different. A closer look at the chunks of bark falling off his tree reveals the dreaded D-shaped holes.

The latest research indicates that the populations of the borer have grown so rapidly that infestations are occurring at any tree height rather than just at the top where the bark is thinner. What does this mean for the tree? Damage occurs above the point of the larvae channels since this cuts off the nutrient supply from the roots. Ash trees can have 33 – 50% damage in the upper branches but still survive if treated. But now, infestations at the base of the tree are blocking all upward flow of nutrients, and the trees are dying within a single season.

What does this mean for you? Your tree cannot be saved. Sorry. It will die far more quickly than when the damage occurred at tree-top level. If you have been treating your ash trees over the last few years, you still have hope, so continue applying your soil annual soil drench treatment or biannual trunk injections. As to how long you will have to continue treating your trees, there are several hypotheses:

  1. Once the majority of ash trees are dead, the EAB population will crash and die off.
  2. Small populations of the borer will survive in naturally resistant trees, but populations will not explode again.
  3. EAB host preferences will adapt to target other trees, so isolated EAB populations will survive.

I tend to support options 2 and 3 which means that I will continue to treat my trees until more research is available.

Submitted by Linda Hartmann, HVL Natural Resources Coordinator

Don’t procrastinate:

Early detection is key to managing the threat posed by the emerald ash borer (EAB), so don’t wait to identify whether you have an ash tree. And if you do have an ash, visually inspect that tree regularly. Also, subscribe to email updates on the EAB in Denver in the footer below.

Develop a plan:

So you have an ash tree. Now what? The short answer is you have two options: treatment or replacement. The one option you shouldn’t consider, however, is treating or replacing your ash tree yourself if you’re not a licensed tree professional. Contact a tree expert to help execute your EAB defense plan.

Know what to look for:

How can you tell if your ash is infested with EAB? Look for D-shaped exit holes, wavy trail lines, bark falling off the tree and Northern Flickers (type of woodpecker), among other things, or view a full photo gallery of what you should be looking for.

Who ya gonna call?

If ash trees show signs or symptoms of EAB infestation, contact the Office of the City Forester at [email protected] or (720) 913-0651.

Have a smart mouth:

Talk to your neighbors, friends and co-workers about the EAB and what they should look for on their ash trees.

Buy local, burn local:

Don’t move any firewood, and you won’t move any borers. It’s the rallying cry in the fight against the EAB if ever there was one. People unknowingly contribute to the spread of the EAB when they transport firewood or other products from ash trees, as EAB larvae stealthily survive and travel hidden under the bark. If an ash tree absolutely has to be moved, always remember the wood needs to be chipped smaller than one inch.

Start planting now:

Obey the old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Truly, if you decide to replace your ash tree with one of these City Forester-approved trees – some of which you might even be able to get for free – you’ll help maintain the long-term stability of our urban canopy.

A healthy tree will have plump fruit, full canopy and sturdy bark. But what do you do when it seems like the bark is frail and falling off?

Trees that start losing their bark tend to start to look unhealthy. However, that does not necessarily mean something is wrong with the health of your tree.

So, when you see a tree losing its bark, find the underlying cause of why it’s doing so by using the following checklist.

Is it normal for my tree to lose its bark?

Yes, it is normal for a tree to lose some of its bark. For example, birch, silver maple and sycamore are known for losing large pieces of bark. Pine, maple, oak and ash trees tend to mature from the inside out, which means they will often get rid of old bark by shedding it.

Your tree is fine if the shedding of the bark is making room for newer bark. Please review the following reasons for why your tree is losing its bark:

1. Sudden temperature changes and frosty weather often causes trees to lose their bark on the south or southwest side.
2. Extreme heat exposure can make a tree lose its bark, stripping the affected area down to the wood.
3. Unhealthy trees tend to lose their bark and will have other signs of poor health like sap, dead leaves and twigs and cankers.

How can I tell if my tree is unhealthy and is losing its bark?

An old apple tree may be dying with bark peeling away

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. If the tree looks healthy, then it’s doing normal bark shedding. A tree damaged by inclement weather can be saved using the upcoming tips. However, the presence of cankers, sap and dead leaves and twigs is a good indicator something more serious may be going wrong with your tree’s health.

What can I do when I discover my tree is losing its bark?

Take a good look at your tree. Keep in mind the signs of an unhealthy tree: sap, cankers, fuzzy fungus and dead leaves (and twigs). You may have to consider pest infestations or tree diseases (in the case of oak, pine ash or maple trees) if your tree looks unhealthy. The smooth patch disease is commonly found in oak bark. EAB is a little pest that likes to get deep into the wood of an ash tree.

Get your tree examined by a professional arborist to determine if the tree can be saved or if it will need to be removed. If the arborist rules that your tree is healthy, then the bark falling off your trees is a normal response to the weather situations in your area. Just give your tree some water and mulch (and use the organic kind in fall and spring).

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