GREENSBORO, N.C. -- As a team from the North Carolina Forest Service surveys the trees in Greensboro's Latham Park, Guilford County Ranger David Masters comes to the conclusion that the Piedmont is facing a growing concern.
"For instance the crown is thinning or some die back or lots of new sprouting low on the trunk of the tree. Those are indicators maybe you got a problem,” Masters said.
The problem is called the emerald ash borer. The metallic green beetle is marching across the central and eastern United States, destroying millions of ash trees in its path. The emerald ash borer lays its eggs on the bark of ash trees. When they hatch, the larvae feeds and drains ash trees of their nutrients and water. As a result, an ash tree can die in two to five years. Assistant Guilford County Ranger Jimmy Holt adds there are other signs of emerald ash borer activity.
"We have a classic D-shaped exit bore when the larvae leaves the tree, heads up the tree, and feed in the crown of the tree,” Holt said.
Horticulture Extension Agent Hanna Pettus works with the public. She says the emerald ash borer is forcing landscapers and homeowners to make serious decisions.
"Is this tree really important to you? Is it something you want to keep in your landscape or is it close to your house or another structure that it can possibly fall on if the tree does die,” Pettus said.
There are over-the-counter insecticides you can use against the emerald ash borer. Or you can have your tree professionally treated.
So far, about 20 North Carolina counties have confirmed reports of emerald ash borer.
The North Carolina Forest Service has created a website so you can get more information about the emerald ash borer.