Public Info

Emerald Ash Borer Could Devastate New Jersey’s Ash Tree Population

Union County Homeowners urged to be vigilant and take precaution

An elusive green beetle, approximately one half inch long, could  possibly devastate New Jersey’s entire ash tree population and the Union County Freeholder Board would like you to be aware of this menace and what you can do to fight back.

The beetle, known as the Emerald Ash Borer has already arrived in ten New Jersey counties, destroying a swath of ash trees, and while there have not been no reported infestations in Union County, experts are saying that the dangerous insect will arrive here, if it hasn’t already.  The State has installed

The adult insect lays its eggs under the bark of the ash tree. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel under the bark, eating the cambium layer, and cutting off the supply of water and nutrients to its branches and leaves that the tree needs to survive.  By the time the larvae turn into adults and become visible as they emerge from under the bark, the damage is already done.  The tree will usually be dead within three years.

The infestations throughout the U.S. and Canada have killed tens of millions of ash trees since 2002—and tree experts and scientists have anticipated that 24 million Ash trees in New Jersey—or a figure that could be as high as 5 percent of the overall tree population—could be destroyed. 

“While it will be very difficult to stop the creature from making substantial damage to the state’s ash tree population, homeowners should be made aware about what their options are,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “Trees play a very important role in Union County’s ecology, our quality of life and the value of real estate.”

First, homeowners should determine whether there is an ash tree on their property. There are many resources online that can assist in this process, however, it may be best to consult a tree care professional to leave no doubt.

A certified tree expert can help residents evaluate, then treat or remove ash trees. Contact the New Jersey Board of Tree Experts, the licensing agency for tree experts and tree care operators, at 732-833-0325 or send them an email at for a list of professionals serving your area.  To visit them online, please go to:

After consulting with the tree care professional and identifying an ash tree, homeowners must decide whether to treat with an insecticide as a preventative measure, or to remove their ash trees. If left untreated an ash tree will likely be infected and killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. A dead tree will become brittle and dangerous if not removed.

If an ash tree is already infested or in poor health, it may be best to remove the tree before it poses a hazard to people and surrounding structures. But for those residents with high-value ash trees in good health, the trees can be treated before they become infested.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website is an important  resource for homeowners and communities.

Additional info can be had at:  Or