If you have Ash trees in your yard, it's time to start watching for emerald ash borers, which are small beetles that will destroy your trees. Emerald ash borers don't just snack on Ash trees, they devour them. Once your trees are infested with the beetles, you have to act fast. Here are four steps you need to take when protecting your trees against EAB.

Conduct Routine Inspections

If you have Ash trees growing in your yard, routine inspections are a must. EAB infest quickly and can take over your trees in no time at all. Once infestation occurs, it can be difficult to get a handle on the problem. Monthly inspections will help you control the situation. First, check the crown for signs of damage. An EAB infestation will cause the crown to dieback. Second, look for epicormic sprouting. This is where small sprouts erupt from the trunk and other unusual areas of the tree. The sprouts usually occur in the area where larvae are actively feeding. Finally, watch for increased woodpecker activity. Woodpeckers love EAB and will nest in an infected tree.

Begin Treatment Early

If you discover EAB activity in your tree, you need to begin treatment as soon as possible. The earlier you begin treatment, the more likely it is that you'll be able to save your tree. That's why the monthly inspections are so crucial. EAB infestations will require professional treatment, so contact a tree specialist at the first sign of infestation. It's also important that you contact your city agriculture department. Many cities have specific guidelines on how EAB infestations can be treated.

Notify Your Neighbors

If your trees have tested positive for EAB infestation, notify your neighbors, especially those who have Ash trees in their yards. Emerald ash borers will travel throughout the area devouring other trees. Your neighbors will need to know that their trees are at risk so that they can begin treatment.

Remove Problem Trees

If any of your trees are beyond help – the beetles have caused irreparable damage – you'll need to have them removed as soon as possible. Once trees are beyond help, they will continue to pose a risk to healthy trees until they're removed. Talk to your tree removal service about the proper disposal. You won't be able to leave the wood in your yard, as the beetles will remain in the yard.

If you have Ash trees, you need to be aware of EAB infestations. Use the emerald ash borer prevention tips provided here to protect your trees.