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Spring will bring signs letting you know if your ash tree is healthy

Damage from the emerald ash borer is hard to tell, so pay attention to these springtime signs.
Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 20, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The emerald ash borer has killed thousands of trees so far in Omaha. Springtime will help you know if your tree is sick or not.

"Maybe some of the bottom limbs are starting to leaf out, but up at the upper parts of the canopy it's just not leafing out very well. That would be a big sign that you have a potential emerald ash borer infestation there," said Josh Rongish, a certified arborist and district manager at the Omaha office of The Davey Tree Expert Company.

Depending on where the sick ash tree is, there could be a risk both to property and to people.

RELATED: Omaha will be receiving a variety of new trees to replace dead ash trees (

"The scary thing about it is that you can't always see those results before they are right on the brink of things happening on a significant level where a tree will fall over, and we know a lot of these ash trees are very mature," said Matt Kalcevich, the Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Property for the city of Omaha.

Healthy ash trees still have a chance to be saved.

"Tree looks healthy enough to treat, then yes, absolutely get on to these preventative treatments would be the number one thing to do. If you do start noticing that you have some signs and symptoms of a sick ash tree then get the arborist out there. If they do find signs of the emerald ash borer the tree just has to be removed. Once it get's it, there is no chance of it being saved," said Rongish.

For those having to remove ash trees, and are looking for a new tree to plant in it's place, Rongish explained to stay away from replanting another ash tree at this time.

"It's going to be years and years before this pest finally kind of cycles out, and ash trees can start thriving again. Stuff like a locust, a honey locust, are a nice hearty tree. You can start getting into some of the red maple varieties. If you're looking for some spring time color, all the varieties of crab apple or red buds do very well," said Rongish.