Pros and Cons of EAB Treatment

Author(s): David Olson
Thursday, July 16, 2020
EAB Larvae in Ash Tree.

Regardless of the decision made, trees should not be left standing until they are dead or have significant dieback. Ash trees killed by EAB become brittle quickly and could start to fall in as little as a year. Additionally, these trees pose increased risks for workers and will likely result in much higher prices for removal. Once EAB is found within 15 miles the decision should be made to treat or remove. Preemptive removal and replanting before this time is also an option.

Table of Contents


  • Important landscape or historic trees can be protected from EAB with treatments.

  • Treatments may provide time if a homeowner is not ready to have a tree removed yet. They may also be used to space out removal over time or allow new trees to grow to an acceptable size first.

  • Treatments may be a good idea if the tree provides many benefits to the house or property such as cooling, storm water retention, and high aesthetic value.

  • Treatments may be cheaper in the short term than having a tree taken down. However, the tree may still have to come down at a later date.


  • Many of the insecticides used to treat ash trees are highly toxic to pollinators. Although ash is wind pollinated studies have shown that some bees still gather this pollen in the spring.

  • Products used to soil drench have been shown to reduce the abundance of beneficial arthropods and invertebrates in the soil such as earthworms.

  • All injections create holes in the tree. This provides an opportunity for pathogens to enter, decay to spread, or can just put stress on a tree from wounding.

  • Many products such as Imidacloprid have limit amounts per acre. Many lawn care products contain these ingredients. You may be over the limit depending on lawn use and proximity to neighbors.

  • Soil drenches cannot be used on flowering plants such as ornamentals planted around the base of a tree.

  • Treatments can be expensive and must be done for the rest of the life of the tree, they are not a one and done deal. Injection treatments will need to be done every 2 years.

  • Trees must be in relative good health to accept the treatment and move the insecticide to the upper canopy. Even then treatment is not a guarantee of survival.

  • Treatments may not be effective against all types of insects attacking the tree.

  • Treatments will not correct abiotic issues that may be stressing the tree.