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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 11, 2011

From: Gilbert, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Something eating Arizona ash in Gilbert AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Something is eating my Arizona ash tree. what should I spray on it?

ANSWER:

The first thing we do when we are trying to diagnose a problem with a plant is to find out if it is native to the area where it is growing. A plant growing where it is not native may be having trouble with soil that has the wrong pH, or less rainfall that the plant is accustomed to, extreme heat, extreme cold, etc. However, the Fraxinus velutina (Arizona ash) does, indeed, grow natively in Maricopa Co., Arizona.

The main pest we found mentioned in connection with the genus Fraxinus is the borer, and the worst of the borers is the Emerald Ash Borer, from an Invasive.org article on the problem. These are introduced beetles from Asia that came into the United States in about 2002 on wood used in cargo bays of ships. The early mentions of this bug are all centered in the Northeast and Midwest, but we understand it is spreading fast.

Since we are not entomologists, we suggest you contact the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office for Maricopa Co.  They are closer to the problem and can probably tell you very quickly what is making holes in your tree and what you can do about it.

 

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