Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 15, 2018

Council to discuss ash borer infestation

By David Hotle | Jul 28, 2017



The subject of tree removal as a preemptive action to the statewide Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation will be examined during the regular Washington City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library.

Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said a committee which has been working on the city’s response to the finding of EABs in the county. Ash borers kill the ash trees they inhabit requiring the removal of the tree. Hinson said the city is beginning to see the impact of EABs in the trees on city property and the only solution is to remove the imfected tree.

“That could be a problem that hits its peak over the next three or four years, or it could take longer than that,” Hinson said. “It just depends. It could be the next decade. Basically what we have been working on is a detailed city response of what we are going to do and how we will deal with the issue as trees start dying and how we are going to educate the public on private trees.”

About a year ago, it was announced that EABs had been discovered in the county. EAB is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees in 27 states. The Emerald ash borer is a native insect of Asia and was first reported to have entered the U.S. in Michigan in 2002.

Hinson said the findings of the committee and ideas of how to proceed. The council will determine if the plan is workable, at which point it will be formalized and return to the council at a later meeting for formal approval.

In December, arborist Andy Dahl told the council ash trees made up about 7 percent of the trees growing on public land. After the discovery of Emerald ash borers in Washington County, the pest is expected to kill all the ash trees in Washington over the next five years. The city is already beginning to set money aside for the eventuality of removing all the ash trees.

He said that because of the nature of Emerald ash borer infestations, based on the results from other states, all ash trees in town would be infested. He said the plans are being made to remove all the trees. Dahl said it is better for the city to remove the trees steadily as they become infested instead of waiting five years and trying to remove all 260 trees at once. He also said the trees wouldn’t be removed until they become dangerous. The cost of removing all the trees is expected to be about $250,000.

An EAB is a beetle and is metallic green, only about 1-1/2 inches long, making it difficult to recognize in the landscape. The larvae stage of the wood-boring insect tunnels under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately causing the tree to die.

Symptoms include canopy dieback beginning at the top of the tree and progressing downward, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, waterspouts and increased woodpecker activity.

To learn more about EABs and other pests threatening Iowa’s tree population, visit www.IowaTreePests.com.

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