Please Stop Pruning Dead Ash Trees

Many Ash trees are showing symptoms of impending death, and homeowners unknowingly request the “dead or dying limbs ” to be pruned or trimmed from their trees. The reality is that they are asking local tree services to prune dying trees, and worse yet, we see it happening, unfortunately, investing money into a dying tree.

We believe it is essential to request quotes and gather information from ISA Certified Arborists; they are working on behalf of the homeowner and the residential trees they care for.

Discovering Emerald Ash Borer symptoms in the early stages is difficult.  It takes educated and experienced tree person to recognize the subtle signs.

Usually, when a homeowner notices something is wrong, a stage two or later infestation has developed. When an ash tree shows apparent damage, it is usually too late to treat for EAB.

  • The most visible sign of an infestation is crown dieback. Branches at the top of the crown will die, and more branches will die in subsequent years. As the tree dies, suckers will sprout from the tree’s base and on the trunk.
  • Typically the top 1/3 of the canopy dies and then works down the tree.  You may notice increased woodpecker activity on the tree, small vertical splits in the bark, and/or small (approx. 1/8“) D-shaped exit holes from the adult bug.
  • Most of the branches will be dead or dying. In the last attempt to survive, the tree may send out new shoots on the trunk or at the base of the trunk (called epicormic sprouting). The bark will start to flake off, exposing S-shaped larvae feeding galleries in the wood directly under the bark.  D-shaped exit holes can be seen more easily, and adult borers may be seen.
  • Recommendation: Remove the tree and replace it with a different species.

ISA Certified Arborists are invested in your tree care.

Sean Deakins

ISA Certified Arborist

NCCER Certified Crane Operator

As professional arborists, we work to educate ourselves and the community we serve and have an understanding when the right time to prune or remove your tree. We support professional tree services and certified arborist working to provide quaility tree care in the Des Moines and Ankeny area.


We believe three quotes are better than one to help you decide who is best suited to work with you for your tree care. If your Ash tree needs to be removed, it is best to move forward with tree removal and avoid the brittle stages of dead tree removal. With winter approaching, the likelihood of damage to homes and other structures is more likely with the weight of snow, ice, and wind.

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