Emerald Ash Borer
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has determined that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect that destroys ash trees has been found in Davidson County. The EAB is attacking all species of North American ash trees and unless treated, it will kill them all before the year 2026. No ash tree is immune to the devastating effects of this insect which has been in Davidson County since 2014 and Tennessee since 2010. Even white fringetree, a close relative of ash and often planted as a small ornamental tree, is vulnerable to EAB.
Managing the Emerald Ash Borer Epidemic in Nashville - This brochure includes helpful information for the Nashville property owner including ash tree identification, infestation signs, management options, tree owner’s responsibilities, tree debris disposal, and how to hire an arborist.
Do I Have an Ash Tree?
Ash Tree Identification
Is My Tree Infested?
Trees in the public right-of-way on your property
This utility easement is generally the area between the back of a water meter box, utility pole or the sidewalk to the street. Metro Nashville Public Works will respond to tree health issues for trees in the right-of-way, even if the tree trunk is only partially in this area. Please call hubNashville at 615-862-5000 or 311 to report an ash tree in the right-of-way. Metro Public Works reserves the option to cut down noted ash trees before they become infested.
Trees on Commercial Property
Any tree on commercial property that is 6' or more in trunk width requires a removal permit from a Metro Codes Urban Forester, 615-862-6488 or 615-862-6886.
Metro Nashville Brush and Leaf Collection Program
Residential property in Nashville receives four brush pick-ups per year. Visit the Brush Collection webpage for more information on collection and drop-off information.
Be Sure to Replant
EAB is only one of many threats to Nashville's tree canopy. As Nashville grows at its current pace, it is essential to keep our tree canopy working for us.
Be sure to replant any trees you must remove and help ensure Nashville has a wide diversity of trees. This EAB infestation shows that a healthy urban forest needs a variety of trees, to create resiliency against the next invasive infestation.
Find your special tree from the websites given below. Learn how big and wide your tree will be when mature and plant it in the right place, taking note of nearby powerlines and other structures. Remember during the first three years, trees need deep watering throughout the growing season, especially during a drought.
Also remember to call 811 before planting to learn where underground lines, pipes and cables are buried in your yard. This is a free utility location service.
Metro Nashville Tree Advisory Committee's Recommended Tree List also includes trees that are not recommended for planting.
Nashville Tree Foundation: The Foundation hosts free tree give-a-ways and organizes community tree planting programs
Arbor Day Foundation: Tree Guide
Nashville Electric Service (NES) has a Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place Guide. In addition to listing large, medium and small size trees, it notes the needed planting distance from power lines.
The use of native plants in landscaping is a celebration of our natural heritage and supports native wildlife. Landscaping with Native Plants in Middle Tennessee includes a list of small to large trees.
How to Plant a Tree
The Arbor Day Foundation's comprehensive tree planting guide for balled-and-burlapped and container-grown trees is a good resource. Instruction includes diagrams and how to plant videos.
Hiring an Arborist
After initial infestation by EAB, the wood of ash trees quickly begins to deteriorate within two years. This causes branches and even trunks to become brittle, crack and fall, the process being much faster than in other tree species. This can present a hazardous situation for arborists to remove and caution is urged. Tree removal by homeowners after infestation is not recommended.
Learn about services arborists provide and criteria for selecting an arborist.
Need to find an arborist? The International Society of Arboriculture which certifies arborists has an arborist location service. Find an arborist in your area or verify a credentials.
Expert Resources within Nashville
UT/TSU Extension-Davidson County delivers educational programs and research-based information on areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences and Community Resource Development to Davidson County citizens. Their horticultural staff serves as a resource for EAB information. Visit the Extension Office online or call 615-862-5995
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a traditional resource for horticultural displays and information
EAB Teacher Resources
What can I do to help?
The EAB was likely brought from Asia to the United States in wood packing material and has been spread to many parts of the country by the moving of untreated wood. Get more information about how to help slow the spread of this devastating insect pest
Help restore Nashville's tree canopy. Volunteer for the Nashville Tree Foundation's community tree planting projects.
Request a Speaker
Nashville has many beautiful native ash trees in parks, on school grounds, along city streets and in private yards. Sadly, the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest, will kill all of them by 2026, unless they are treated. No ash tree is immune to the devastating effects of this insect which is now in Davidson County. The progress of the infestation and resulting tree death is swift.
To find out more about EAB schedule a free speaker for your Nashville community or work group. The presentation will review how to identify ash trees and management options. Also discussed will be the tree owner's responsibility and how to hire an arborist.
This presentation can be 20 to 45 minutes and be either a power point or flip chart presentation. The type of presentation format depends on the set-up at the meeting location. Allow additional time for questions.
To schedule a free EAB presentation, register online or Metro Public Works Horticulturist, Jennifer Smith at 615-862-8708.
Related Emerald Ash Borer Information
Shade the City, Plant more Trees!
Fall is the perfect time of year for planting trees. How to Organize a Successful Tree Planting is a handbook of best practices created to help group leaders plan, prepare, and implement a successful event for their school, organization, or neighborhood group. This manual was created on behalf of Metro Public Works, Metro Beautification and Environment Commission, Metro Tree Advisory Committee with the Metro Landscape Coordination Program. It was funded by a Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry Grant.
How to Organize a Successful Tree Planting Resources