Ants and Trees

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We get a fair amount of calls about ants. Are ants good, or are ants bad? When it comes to trees, ants are not your stereotypical pest. Most ants can be beneficial to your tree by cleaning out the dead and decaying wood before it becomes rampant throughout your tree. Rarely will ants eat through live healthy wood. 

If you do see large amounts of ants all over your tree, it is a red flag that your tree has other issues the ants are just a by product of. The ants themselves are rarely an issue to cause concern, while unsightly, they are a sign there are some hollow areas in your tree and possibly other health issues that you should seek treatment for.

Ants can become a concern however if you see them burrowing in the roots. If you see sawdust around the base of your tree, it means the ants are burrowing in the root zone. That can be a red flag of root rot. Decaying roots mean a high risk for tree failure and you should have an Arborist who has a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification inspect your tree.

While ants aren’t always harmful to your trees, they can be harmful to other aspects of your landscape. They’ll use your tree as a base of operations, and spread from there. When this occurs and you don’t want to risk damage to other plants, you can spray your tree with 30 or so drops of peppermint oil and a gallon of water. Ants hate peppermint and as soon as they get a whiff, they’ll be gone. 

Give us a shout if you have any questions regarding the health of your trees!