We live in New York. Bark is falling off several of our trees. Could it be Dutch elm disease? It’s falling off in slivers. enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • Are all your trees elm trees? were all the trees affected with bark falling off previously entirely healthy, or did they display some dieback, yellowing of leaves, canker etc?
    – Bamboo
    Jan 18, 2020 at 14:10
  • Affects primarily American elms ; other elms are partially resistant. American elm will have a characteristic "vase" or V shape of the overall branch scaffolding. Jan 18, 2020 at 16:22
  • I do believe this is an ash tree. Does it affect other trees? How easy is it to get rid of? My neighbors trees have it too.
    – Concerned
    Jan 19, 2020 at 19:32
  • You can't get rid of emerald ash borer. There is a type of insecticide called imidocloprin that will work against the larvae in the tree, but this must be applied before Mother's Day. It's systemic, which means that it will affect any insect that feeds on the tree, including beneficial caterpillars (ash flowers are wind pollinated, so no affect on pollinators). You must apply this insecticide every year. Some arborists will also inject the trees with the same product. This is not inexpensive. I'm pretty sure that once the bark starts falling the tree is dying.
    – Jurp
    Jan 20, 2020 at 14:45
  • After they've been cut down, some trees will re-sprout from the stump. This isn't desirable because you'll get a ton of small branches and, even if you later trim to a single trunk, the borer will attack the tree after it gets larger. It's usually best to treat the stump with "stump and brush killer" (this contains a chemical called Triclopyr) or, better yet, grind it down to a depth of at least one foot. At that depth, you could plant a replacement tree near the original stump. A decent replacement if you like the fall leaf color could be hackberry, a native tree.
    – Jurp
    Jan 20, 2020 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


The bark looks like its on an ash tree, not an elm tree. Could this be correct? If it's an ash, then I suggest a bad (and fatal) infestation of emerald ash borer. I've seen this kind of bark loss all over the city in which I live - including on four of my own mature ash trees. It does look like you have borer exit holes in the last photo, particularly the sideways D here:

enter image description here

Please let me know if I'm off-base on the trees being ash trees, and I'll delete my answer.

  • I think you are right. Looks like ash bark. There are these holes at every place where bark has come off.
    – GardenGems
    Jan 19, 2020 at 0:15
  • I do think it is an ash tree. I noticed the pin hole too. Thank you for info.
    – Concerned
    Jan 19, 2020 at 19:30
  • How do you treat? Or do you cut trees down?
    – Concerned
    Jan 19, 2020 at 19:34
  • 1
    At this point, if I'm right, it's way too late to save the tree. The only recourse is to remove it. What's really unfortunate is that the only way to use the wood for lumber (and ash is a good wood for furniture) is to have someone remove the bark and the next inch of wood (this removes any larvae in the tree). This applies for use as firewood, too. Most arborists don't or can't do this, so these larger trees usually just end up getting chipped. The chips are very good mulch, BTW.
    – Jurp
    Jan 19, 2020 at 19:48

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