It seems that we sometimes find ourselves with more questions than answers, or at least I do. Furthermore, who has time to research to find a solution, read instructions or wait until the time is right to address the problem? The University of Illinois Extension staff who serve you in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby are prepared to connect you to research based solutions.

One situation where there are often many questions and seemingly few answers is when a tree or trees are dying in our landscape. We certainly do not want the tree to die, so we may panic a bit and begin looking for a quick solution, instead of determining what problem is causing the tree’s health to decline.

When someone calls me about a “sick” tree, I begin asking questions. One of my first questions, “how long has the tree been growing in that location”? It may have growth issues related to transplant shock from a recent planting, or maybe suffering from root compaction caused by construction project a year or two ago.

We often get busy and forget to water a newly planted tree. On the other hand, sometimes we may get in a hurry to get the lawn mowed and accidentally hit the trunk of the tree with the mower, which removes part of the tree’s bark. In the case of trunk damage, the overall health of the tree may not decline for a year or two. The same situation is true of soil compaction around an older established tree. In these two situations, maintaining tree health has to start long before the condition appears.

A recent concern from several landowners in our five county Extension Unit has been the decline of ash trees in their landscape. Although you may not hear about the Asian Emerald Ash Borer much these days, it is still here. Although homeowners and landowners can provide protection to their ash trees from this pest, planning ahead of the tree’s decline is important.

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The “do it yourself” chemical treatment option to protect ash trees requires that the insecticide be moved, or translocated from the ground by the roots up into the trunk and branches of the tree. This chemical control option contains the active ingredient, imidacloprid, which is applied as a soil drench around the tree in the spring or in the fall. Applying this chemical in the summer is not effective. Treatment also is only necessary once a year, with spring being the best time.

If your ash tree is larger than 11 inches in diameter, an arborist will need to inject the insecticide into the tree. Insecticide options increase with this treatment option. Some insecticide options offer protection for up to three years. Remember that homeowner soil applied insecticides must be applied annually to protect the ash tree from the Emerald Ash Borer. Additionally, this insect only attacks ash trees, so this treatment is not necessary for oaks, maples and other trees in the landscape.

Finally, when using any pesticides in your landscape or garden, slow down and read the label. Determine from the label: Will this chemical control the pest causing the damage? How much should I use? How do I mix and apply? Are there any special pieces of protective equipment that I should wear during the application?

If you have questions or problems in your landscape or garden, contact the University of Illinois Extension office for assistance in determining the best management practice to address these problems.

For more information on University of Illinois Extension programming in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at 217-345-7034. The University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the extension office at 217-345-7034.

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