The Ash Tree Two-Step May 4, 2018 By Zach Nicoludis, agronomist, Central Region

If ash trees fail to produce a full canopy of leaves this spring, they may be stressed by emerald ash borers.  

Ash trees continue to be devastated throughout the Central Region by the emerald ash borer. Sixteen years ago, this insect, native to northeastern Asia, was first identified in the U.S. around Detroit, Michigan. Now, it can be found throughout the Central Region and has spread to other parts of the country. For golf facilities that are just becoming acquainted with the emerald ash borer, a two-step approach should be implemented that focuses on developing an ash tree inventory and prioritizing trees for removal.

An inventory of every ash tree on a golf course is necessary to determine the potential impact of the emerald ash borer. Tree quality, impact on turf health and architectural influence should be evaluated so the value of each ash tree to the golf course can be rated. A priority for removal can then be assigned to each ash tree based on the rating it receives.   

Proactive removal – beginning with ash trees that received a low rating – has been used by some facilities to avoid cutting down many dead trees at one time. This approach can also help reduce the financial burden of ash tree removal should a quarantine be issued that results in increased costs of debris disposal.

Taking the steps to inventory and prioritize ash trees for removal is recommended since it does not appear that the spread of the emerald ash borer will slow anytime soon. For more information on the emerald ash borer, please visit the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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