Emerald Ash Borer Survey

Group members: Irvin, Stephany, William

  • To locate ash trees and identify which trees are infested with emerald ash borers.
  • Determine which trees have shoots, splits, D holes and dieback.

Task: Identify and log ash trees in your area using the materials and methods listed here.

Location: Wherever you find ash trees! In your neighborhood, a park, your backyard, etc.

Required Materials:
1 Pencil
Something to mark that you have collected the data on a tree and don’t collect it twice. We used string.
1 Tape Measure- Make sure that it is in Metric units!
1 Scissors
Sample Log–Example here
GPS enabled tablet computer


Background: The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) originated from Eastern Russia, Northern China, Japan, and Korea. EAB attack ash trees more specifically green, white, blue, and pumpkin ash trees. EAB is becoming an international problem, killing ash trees in Canada and the United States. There is a national effort to limit the spread of EAB. Ash borers lay no more than 100 eggs in a single tree and the larva cause major damage to the tree. There are an estimated 8 billion ash trees in the United States, but since the arrival of the the emerald ash borer in North America, approximately 150-200 million ash trees have died and the number continues to grow. Also, there are 20% of ash trees in chicago, we want to prevent those trees from getting killed by the deadly emerald ash borer. A very user friendly program that allows anyone to help report any emerald ash borer sightings is Project Noah. http://www.projectnoah.org/ also the background information was gathered from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_ash_borer

Project Summary:  What you are going to be doing is very straightforward.  When you first find an ash tree make sure that it is not one of the look alike species, such as the ash-leafed maple (boxelder).  You can use various online resources to make sure that what you see is an ash tree. We looked at the design of the bark and the shape of the leaves to determine the species.

Once you are sure that it is an ash tree, you can start collecting your data!  Take your metric tape measure and wrap it around the tree at breast height for the circumference.  Take all measurements in centimeters for consistency and write them down on your sample log under the appropriate column.  Take the GPS of the tree with any sort of application and log the longitude and latitude down in the appropriate columns.

Have a look at the tree. Does it look healthy? Is it missing any limbs? Are its leaves healthy and green? Is it dead? Write down the health of the ash under the “Tree Health” column, and rate the tree using one of the following categories: Excellent, good, fair, poor, dead.  There are four easy ways to tell if an ash tree is infested with emerald ash borers.  D Holes are the entry and exit points for the ash borers in the tree. You would never guess, but they are in a “D” shape and are much smaller than a dime. Dieback is when the leaves at the top of the tree start falling off leaving bare leaves, and is another telltale sign of infestation.  Splits can also be found in the bark of infested ash trees. The bark splits open to show bare wood.  Shoots are usually the ash trees last stand  when it is about to die. Branches start popping out the base of the tree in large numbers, and looks like a bush.  Once you are done collecting your data on a tree, make sure to mark it so you know not to go back to it and collect duplicate data.  We used pink string and tied it around the trunk, using the scissors to cut a length of it.

Link to tree identification booklet

More information on emerald ash borers

Project topic: Our project topic is the infestation of Emerald Ash Borers on ash trees. We have observed the different levels of infestation ranging from excellent health to the tree death.

Methods/Procedure: When we were in the field, we would collect data on the ash trees that we found.  We would take down the health of the tree, its GPS and the circumference around the trunk of the tree. Whether or not the tree suffered from D holes, dieback, shoots or splits was also recorded.

 Preliminary Findings: 

Health Excellent Good Fair Poor Dead
# of trees 16 11 16 7 4
Percentages 29.6% 20.4% 29.6% 13.0% 7.4%

Total amount of Ash trees: 54

Ash tree health


12 of the trees that we found had D holes 54. 54/100*12 = 22% of the trees we logged.

16 other trees showed signs of infection even though we saw no D holes, only splits, shoots, or dieback. 54/100 x 16= 52% of the trees we logged.

Collectively, 74% of the these ash trees could possibly be infected.



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