If you notice that your trees aren't doing as well as you think they should be, there are a lot of things that it could be. One of the things it could be is tree-boring insects. There are a multitude of bugs that like to bore into your trees. Many boring insects are particular to a specific species of tree, while there are a few that will go after any kind of tree they see. One way that you can tell if you have a species specific borer is that you will see only that kind of tree affected, while a tree of a differing species right next to it is unaffected. For example, if you have an ash tree next to a maple tree, but only the ash is affected, then you probably have something like an emerald ash borer. If you do notice that your trees are having problems, how can you tell if it's a tree borer and what can you do to get rid of them?
Signs That You Have a Tree Boring Insect
The most obvious sign that you have some kind of boring insect is that you are going to see holes in the bark of the tree. They may be circles, but they may also be more oval or oblong. They aren't just found on the trunk of the tree, but also on the branches and twigs. If the borers are coming over from one tree to another, you may see the holes on one side of the tree and not the other. But, if the tree doesn't have smooth bark, it can be hard to see the holes. Another sign that you have some kind of boring insect is that you will see sawdust looking debris all around the tree. It's not actually sawdust but is frass, which is the waste product of the insect.
How to Manage Boring Insects
There are various ways to manage the insects. If your tree is in relatively good shape and there are only a few holes in the tree, you can do things like mulching, fertilizing, and giving the tree some TLC. The stronger your tree is, the more likely it can fight off the insects and get better. You can also try to put some pesticide around the tree's drip line, which is the furthest edge of the trees roots. The tree will absorb the pesticide and fight off the insects. If the tree is heavily infested, the best choice is to get rid of the tree. The tree likely won't be able to recover, and it is only giving habitat to the insects so that they can attack your other trees.