White ash tree and excessive key production

(Question)

Our 50+ year old white ash tree has produced more keys this year than ever in the 34 years we have lived here. It is planted in our sunny backyard in Don Mills, very near the TBG, and has been treated twice to prevent emerald ash borer and there are still no signs that it has been infested, however it has dropped many of its leaves in June over the past few years, and has suffered from anthracnose in cool damp springs. It then produced a second flush of leaves, however this year it did not lose many leaves at all.

My concern is that the abundant key production may be a sign of extra stress, and if so, I hope there is something that I can do about it. We will maintain the treeazim treatment as scheduled for next year, but please advise me if there is something else I can to do to protect this wonderful tree. Thank you.

(Answer)

Unfortunately, excessive seed production is a stress reaction in many trees, including the ash (Fraxinus), and might mean that your tree is in its final years.

The extremes of weather over the past few years – especially summer heat extremes (2011 and 2012) – might have contributed to the leaf loss. This relatively milder summer in 2013 probably gave it some respite.

Because the specific matters more than the general, I suggest you have your tree inspected by a certified arborist, who can recommend the best strategy. The people who applied your emerald ash borer treatment would have been arborists. Or, you can search for a certified arborist in your area through the International Society of Arborists website.

 

I hope this helps. The very best of luck with your ash tree.