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What is Happening to Colorado’s Ash Trees?

By September 10, 2020December 28th, 2020Tree Health
Ash tree trimming in colorado springs

Ash trees are common in the residential areas of Colorado Springs. Ash trees are a deciduous tree with beautiful full canopies and leaves that can turn vibrant colors in the fall. Ash trees are easily identified by their bark which is textured with a diamond-shaped pattern that almost resembles the pattern of a chain-link fence. They have opposing branches with compound leaves that contain 5 to 9 smaller leaflets.

Common Ailments for Ash Trees in Colorado Springs

Ash trees are an aesthetic tree that provides excellent privacy and shade to a yard. They have been a top tree to plant for years due to their versatility, but they have become more susceptible to certain risks within the last couple of decades. Emerald Ash Borers have killed millions of ash trees in North America in the last couple of decades. Colorado Springs is not yet affected by this pest, but it is worth being aware of.

Colorado Springs has very unpredictable and sometimes harsh weather patterns and this can have an impact on ash trees which are not native to the front range. Ash trees may be more likely to be killed off by a late freeze, and they tend to lose their leaves in storms especially if there is hail. They also tend to have more dead branches which can be prone to breaking if there is a storm.

Ash trees are still a great part of any yard in spite of these risks. These are some tips on how to care for your ash tree and keep your yard looking nice and healthy.

Preventative Tree Spraying for Ash Borer

Ash Borer is the most destructive pest found in ash trees. Ash Borers tunnel through trees to build their habitats and lay eggs. This tunneling activity causes the tree’s vascular system to clog up which ultimately kills the tree. Ash borers have caused widespread damage to ash tree populations.

Emerald Ash Borer is the most significant threat to ash trees in North America. Emerald Ash Borer was not introduced to North America until the early 2000s, and it most likely arrived in ash wood pallets used for shipping. Emerald Ash Borer was first found in Colorado in 2013 in Boulder and it has killed many of the trees in that area since. Currently Colorado Emerald Ash Borer is contained to Boulder and the immediate surrounding area. While Emerald Ash Borer is not yet an immediate threat to the Colorado Springs area, many horticulturalists recommend selecting a different species of tree when planting.

Colorado Springs ash trees are currently more effected by Lilac Ash Borer. Lilac Ash Borer hasn’t caused the same level of destruction as the Emerald Ash Borer, but it’s tunneling habits can still cause extensive damage to the tree. Preventative tree spraying is an effective way to protect your tree. Ash trees should be sprayed with an Ash Borer pesticide once in late April, and again in late May.

When Tree Trimming is Needed for an Ash Tree

Trim an ash tree in Colorado springsAsh trees tend to have more dead limbs and branches in them than other trees. If there is excessive dead wood in a tree this needs to be trimmed out. Removing the dead wood from the tree will make the tree healthier and the tree structure stronger.

When a tree has too many limbs that are dead or dying, the tree’s resources of water, energy from the sun, and nutrients from the soil become too spread out as it tries to heal itself. Working with a tree trimming company in Colorado Springs by removing these branches will make the overall structure of the tree stronger so that it can send its resources where they are needed. This will also help prevent dead limbs from falling, and the remaining limbs will become stronger and less likely to break.


Will an Ash Tree Bounce Back Or is Tree Removal Needed?

Many of the ash trees in Colorado Springs were impacted by the hard late freeze this last April. Some of these trees were killed in the freeze, but some of them have bounced back and leafed out much later in the season. Ash trees are susceptible to losing their leaves to a late freeze or to hail which may make them look dead, but sometimes they can still bounce back.

The best way to tell if an ash tree is dead is to test some of the branches to see if they are brittle or limber. If the branches are brittle and snap easily throughout the tree, then it is likely dead and it needs to be removed so that it does not become a hazard. If the branches are limber and can bend without breaking, then it may still be alive, and it could bounce back even if it is not currently leafed out. If the trees limbs are still limber it may be worth giving it another season, however, if it fails to bud out the following spring then it may be time to hire a company that does tree removal so that it does not become a hazard.


Ash trees are a great residential tree, but they can require some maintenance. Ash borers pose a risk to ash trees all over the US. Spraying can help prevent some forms of ash borer, but this pest should be considered when planting a new ash tree. Ash trees may have more dead limbs in them than other trees, and trimming the dead wood out will help to keep the tree healthy. Ash Trees can be hit hard by a late freeze, but sometimes they bounce back. If an ash tree has brittle limbs, or if it fails to bud out two seasons in a row, then it might be time to consider removal.  Here is some additional information concerning signs that a tree needs to be removed.


Precision Tree is a local tree trimming and removal company that has been serving the Colorado Springs area for nearly 20 years.

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