Ask the Experts

First Emerald Ash Borer Case Found in North Texas by Southern Botanical Arborists

One of the first emerald ash borer (EAB) cases has been identified within Dallas city limits by Arborists at Southern Botanical. According to the City of Dallas, this discovery places Dallas County, along with Tarrant, Denton, and Parker counties, under quarantine. This quarantine prohibits the movement of ash wood, wood waste, and hardwood firewood products from these counties to non-quarantined counties. But what is EAB, and why is it so dangerous?

What is the Emerald Ash Borer?

The emerald ash borer (EAB), scientifically known as Agrilus planipennis, is a small, metallic green beetle invasive to North America. Despite being about the size of a penny, the damage it causes is substantial. All native ash trees are susceptible to EAB attack, even healthy ones. EAB can kill ash trees within 2-3 years after infestation, making early detection and treatment crucial.

How did the emerald ash borer get to America?

EAB is native to northeast Asia and was first detected in the U.S. in 2002. In its native habitat, the beetle only infests dying ash trees, but in North America, it attacks all native ash trees. The exact method of its introduction to the United States remains unknown. The most likely cause was the transport of infected ashwood via international shipping.

Lifecycle and Spread

  • Egg Stage: Female EABs lay their eggs in the crevices of ash tree bark.
  • Larval Stage: Once hatched, larvae bore into the tree, feeding on the inner bark. This disrupts the flow of nutrients and water, which eventually kills the tree.
  • Pupal and Adult Stages: After the larval stage, the beetle pupates and emerges as an adult. Adults then exit the tree, leaving characteristic D-shaped holes, and the cycle begins again.
  • Spread: The beetles can spread by flying short distances. However, they spread primarily through the movement of infested wood products, such as firewood and timber. This accelerates their reach into new areas, making quarantine measures essential to control their spread.

Signs and Symptoms of EAB Infestation

Detecting an emerald ash borer infestation early is crucial to mitigating its damage. The signs can be subtle at first but become more apparent as the infestation progresses. Here are the key indicators to watch for:

  • D-Shaped Exit Holes: Adult EABs leave characteristic D-shaped exit holes in the bark when they emerge.
  • Thinning Canopy: One of the earliest signs is a thinning canopy, where the tree starts losing leaves and the upper branches die back.
  • S-Shaped Galleries: Beneath the bark, larvae create winding S-shaped galleries as they feed on the inner bark, disrupting nutrient and water flow.
  • Epicormic Sprouting: Stressed trees may produce new shoots, known as epicormic sprouts, from the trunk and lower branches.
  • Bark Splits: Vertical splits in the bark can reveal the S-shaped galleries underneath.
  • Woodpecker Activity: Increased woodpecker activity may indicate their presence, as these birds feed on EAB larvae.
  • Leaf Yellowing: Leaves may turn yellow prematurely and fall off.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms early can help in taking timely action to manage and mitigate the impact of EAB on ash trees. Southern Botanical’s own ISA Certified Tree Arborist, Steve Clary, recently detected what may be the first case of EAB damage in North Texas this year.

How Can I Protect My Ash Tree from the Emerald Ash Borer?

Tens of millions of ash trees have been killed by the emerald ash borer (EAB) in the United States, and many more are at risk as EAB continues to spread. While it is challenging to prevent EAB from infesting local ash trees entirely, there are measures that can help mitigate its impact. 

Prevention and Early Detection

  • Limit Human Spread: EAB is often spread by humans transporting infested ash wood, wood waste, and firewood. Adhering to quarantine restrictions is crucial to prevent this. However, beetles can also fly from one tree to another, so vigilance is essential.
  • Early Detection: Early detection and treatment are the most effective ways to save ash trees. Although signs of EAB infestation may not be apparent initially, a certified arborist can help detect and treat infested trees early on.
  • Insecticide Options: There are insecticides available that can help prevent EAB infestations. A certified arborist can recommend the best options for your specific situation.

Treatment for Infested Trees

If you suspect your trees are infested with EAB, it is important to act quickly and contact a Certified Arborist. Southern Botanical’s team of ISA Certified Arborists offer free 30-minute consultations to evaluate and diagnose tree health issues. They can guide you through available treatment options which may include insecticides to manage the infestation or, in severe cases, the removal of the infested tree to prevent further spread.

EAB poses a significant threat to ash trees in North Texas and beyond. This invasive beetle has already led to quarantines in several North Texas counties to prevent its spread. Understanding what EAB is and recognizing the signs and symptoms of infestation can make a critical difference in saving ash trees. While complete prevention is challenging, seeking early intervention from certified arborists is essential to mitigate damage and ultimately tree mortality.

During a free consultations with ISA Certified Aborists at Southern Botanical, you receive a tree health inspection and evaluation. If you suspect EAB or have other tree health concerns, book a free appointment online or by calling Southern Botanical at 214.266.2103.

Press Release & Media Contact
For more information, including speaking to the Certified Arborist who made the discovery or interviewing the client whose trees were affected, please contact