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Horticulture topics from gardens to lawns and then some.
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Enjoying the Last Hurrahs of a Staple Landscape Tree

In mid-October I walked around marveling at the outstanding color of one of our earliest tree to exhibit great fall color, the ash (Fraxinus spp.) And I realized, for many homeowners this might be the last time they can enjoy the spectacular fall display of an ash tree. What I am referring to is the loss of our native ash trees to the emerald ash borer (EAB).

For some, this post might seem like a horse leaving the gate before the race has even started, as you probably haven't seen the likes of this pest in your community. And yet for others it may be all too late.

When EAB is confirmed for a county, ash trees are considered to have a 100% mortality rate, unless you treat every one or two years with chemical pesticides. So for homeowners comparing the cost of treating the tree indefinitely with the cost of removal, many have opted for removal. So like the chestnut and elm, the ash tree will become more synonymous as a street name rather than a landscape tree.

Yes, ash trees are over-planted throughout American cities, but they were selected for a reason. Ash trees perform relatively well in urban/residential conditions and they have outstanding varieties of yellow, red-purple, and scarlet fall color.

Even though by the time you read this ash trees have lost their leaves, I encourage you to take some time next year and enjoy a native landscaping tree that is likely on its way out the door.

Are you unsure if your county has EAB? Check out the Illinois Department of Agriculture website dedicated to this nonnative pest.

And as always if you would like more information on EAB or any horticultural conundrum contact your local Extension office.

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