Metro Nashville advises residents of Emerald Ash Borer dangers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville has many beautiful native ash trees in parks, on school grounds, along city streets and in private yards. Sadly, none of these ash trees are immune to the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest rapidly spreading across Middle Tennessee. It is important for Nashvillians to have a plan on how to manage their ash trees.

Managing the Emerald Ash Borer outbreak includes three options:  Treat your tree, Let it die or Remove it. Early spring is the time to select what is right for your tree. The longer a management plan is delayed, the more it will cost.

Treat it: Insecticide treatments may be applied by the homeowner or a licensed professional. Injection treatments are most effective, they must be applied by a professional every two years for the remaining healthy life of the tree. Depending on the specific chemical used, soil drenches and bark sprays may be applied by the homeowner or require a professional. These typically need annual applications.

Insecticide treatments are most effective in the first year of infestation and, when applied before infestation, help build resistance. Once there is more than 30% dieback of the crown, treatment may not be effective. If this is your management option, treatment should start now, as the trees are coming out of winter dormancy and will actively take up chemical treatments.

Let it die: If the tree is in the woods or an open area where its fall would not block access or cause physical or property damage, you can let it die naturally in place and decompose.

Remove it: You can be proactive and have your tree cut down before it dies. If it is not accessible by a bucket truck, then it needs to be cut down before it becomes too brittle to climb. Infested ash trees can present a safety concern.

Metro is working to inventory ash trees in Metro Parks and the public rights-of-way.  Trees in these areas marked with a blue dot will be removed.

Reference Information

Metro EAB website: trees.nashville.govManaging the Emerald Ash Borer Epidemic in Nashville Brochure: Website or call 615-862-5000.

Schedule a free EAB speaker for your organization or club (virtual or in person): Contact Jennifer Smith at or 615-862-8708.

The EAB Speaker’s Bureau is presented by the Metro Tree Advisory Committee. The program reviews how to identify ash trees, management options, tree owner’s responsibilities, and how to hire an arborist.

The Metro Tree Advisory Committee’s mission, working closely with city departments and non-profit partners, is to recommend tree policies, educate the community about the benefits of trees and proper tree planting and care, and promote tree planting and preservation.