What can I plant to replace an ash tree killed by emerald ash borer?


What can I plant to replace an ash tree killed by emerald ash borer?


The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an exotic destructive pest that kills all native ash trees (Fraxinus). The urban tree canopy is significantly impacted by the loss of ash trees. While treatment options are available, some trees cannot be treated because symptoms are too advanced and treatments are typically expensive.  Apart from preventative systemic pesticide treatments, the only other option available is to replace that ash tree with a different species.

When looking to plant a new tree, diversity is an important consideration.  In your yard and neighborhood be sure no more than 10% of the trees are the same species, no more than 20% are the same genus, and no more than 30% are in the same family. If you have to remove an ash tree affected by EAB, consider one of the following species as a replacement.

  • Kentucky coffee tree – Gymnocladus dioicus – Zones 3-8, Fabaceae
  • bald cypress – Taxodium distichum – Zones 4-9, Cupressaceae
  • swamp white oak* – Quercus bicolor – Zones 3-8, Fagaceae
  • ginkgo – Ginkgo biloba – Zones 3-8, Ginkgoaceae
  • hackberry – Celtis occidentalis – Zones 2-9, Cannabaceae
  • thornless honeylocust – Gleditsia triacanthos inermis – Zones 3-8, Fabaceae
  • American elm (Dutch Elm Disease resistant cvs) – Ulmus – Zones (4)5-8, Ulmaceae
  • Miyabi maple* – Acer miyabei – Zones 4-8, Sapindaceae
  • basswood – Tilia americana – Zones 2-8, Malvaceae
  • northern catalpa – Catalpa speciosa – Zones 4-8, Bignoniaceae
  • tulip poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera – Zones 4-9, Magnoliaceae
  • American sycamore – Platanus occidentalis – Zones 4-9, Platanaceae
  • dawn redwood – Metasequoia glyptostroboides – Zones 5-8, Cupressaceae
  • amur corktree – Phellodendron amurense – Zones 3-7, Rutaceae
  • black gum – Nyssa sylvatica – Zones 4-9, Cornaceae
  • chinkapin oak* – Quercus muehlenbergii – Zones 5-7, Fagaceae
  • shingle oak* – Quercus imbricaria – Zones 4-8, Fagaceae
  • red oak* – Quercus rubra – Zones 3-7, Fagaceae
  • sugar maple* – Acer saccharum – Zones 4-8, Sapindaceae
  • red maple* – Acer rubrum – Zones 3-9, Sapindaceae

Those asterisks above are to remind you that while these are good trees for most of Iowa, Maple and Oak tend to be already over-represented in residential neighborhoods. These trees may not give you the diversity that is needed.

More information about these and other alternative tree species, including cultivar recommendations, can be found in these publications: 

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