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WARNING: The Emerald ash borer, or EAB, is a troublesome pest that’s been heading this way for a bit over a decade. IT IS NOW IN the Carolinas!!! Heartwood has been keeping an eye on the situation for a while now and has put together this page to provide information about the pest, its signs and symptoms, spread, and treatments. We’ll be updating this page on a regular basis as things change and we learn more.

What is EAB and where did it come from?

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an exotic pest native to Asia and Eastern Russia. It was first detected in the United States in 2002 in the Great Lakes Region and has been slowly spreading ever since. It’s a bit smaller than a penny and shiny emerald green.

What trees does it affect?

As the name states, ash trees are their primary host plant. There’s been some research and observations over the last year or two that indicate that another few species might be affected, but ash trees are the concern at this point.

Is it here in the Carolinas yet?


It has not been officially confirmed by the state, but yes. It spreads through natural means and with some help from man (transporting fire logs and lumber is now illegal due to the quick spread of EAB this way). The pest has been found in a couple of counties in north central North Carolina and it’s established in

Tennessee, so it’s only a matter of time. Denver, NC, which is only 30 miles out of Charlotte, has had devastating effects from the EAB.

What can be done?

We have the benefit of 10 years of trial and error trying to control this pest in other parts of the country. We have a good handle on how to help trees withstand the EAB storm when it comes. Treating your trees with an insecticide PREVENTATIVELY is the best way to protect them. There are several different ways we can look to apply the needed product depending on the location of the tree, time of year, and a few other factors.

What if I do nothing?

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. It takes only 2 years for the beetles to kill a tree. By the time it’s noticed, it’s too late. You have two options: either treat your Ash for protection or plan on paying to have it removed. Removal must be done by using aerial lifts because the tree becomes too dangerous to climb. We highly suggest using preventative treatments so we can avoid losing an important piece of our canopy. There are now entire sections of Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan with no ash trees!

What are the signs to look out for?

EAB generally attacks the top of the tree first and then moves down the trunk. In the top of the tree, generally, we are looking for large dead sections poking out of the top and an increase in bird activity (especially woodpeckers – they love EAB). In addition, there could also be an increased number of smaller shoots coming off different places on the trunk. The telltale sign for EAB is a small D-Shaped exit hole from the pest in the bark. The hole is very distinct from those that other pests make.

Should I be treating now?

 Yes! If you have an ash tree that you love or care for, now is the time to get a protection plan in place. EAB is knocking at our door.

It can be pretty easy to mix up ash trees for other trees such as poplars since the bark can look similar. We will provide some helpful links that have a detailed guide on what to look for in an ash tree. You can also send pictures of a tree you think is an ash to our email at or call our front office at (704) 525-3066 to get a certified arborist out to your yard and lay eyes on your tree.

Helpful Ash tree identification links:

Distinguishing an Ash article

Tree Doctor

Helpful EAB Links:

US Forest Service

National EAB Information Site

Social Media EAB Educational Links:

You can also follow our archnemesis, Emeril the Emerald Ash Borer, on social media. These social media platforms will document his travels while “stalking” the Ash tree through Mecklenburg county. This is a funny, entertaining, and informational take on raising awareness through these outlets via Facebook/Instagram. Give him a follow and keep up with what’s going on for Emeril the Emerald Ash Borer in Charlotte!




Stay current with the updates, newsletter and our event schedule. We are passionate about increasing awareness about the diminishing canopy coverage of our planet and we’re always staying involved to continue to be a part of the solution.

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