By Michael Rosen, President Tree Canada
Who would believe that the magical Neem tree from India (whose name is derived from the Sanskrit “Nimba” meaning “bestower of good health”) would turn out to be a crucial weapon in Canada’s battle against the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)? The Borer, an insect native to Asia, was first discovered in Windsor, ON in 2002. By the end of 2012 its presence was confirmed in 27 Ontario counties and in seven areas in Quebec where it has killed millions of ash trees and is being primarily transported by humans through the movement of firewood and logs. Fighting the insect is difficult – it lacks natural enemies and kills ash trees quickly. That’s where the magical Neem tree comes in. In India, Neem is regarded as a “miracle plant” where everything from mouthwash to painkillers to soap is made from its leaves, seeds, and branches. The Neem trees’ seeds are the source of azadirachtin, a natural insecticide, which is used in TreeAzin – a product to combat EAB, developed in Canada. TreeAzin kills EAB larvae and also reduces EAB fertility and egg viability when EAB females feed on the tree’s foliage, providing up to two years of protection. TreeAzin is effective at protecting trees without causing damage to passing wildlife or pets, nearby plants or gardens, pollinators including bees, or people. It is one of the few tools we have to protect healthy ash trees from EAB where they are injected – one by one. If you have ash trees you want to protect or think your trees might already be infested with emerald ash borer, contact an ISA Certified Arborist in your area to have them treated with this wonderful extract from India’s “miracle tree”.