On Wednesday, April 15, the Iowa Department of Agriculture reported that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in the Des Moines area, specifically in a residential ash tree in Dallas County. Now, 21 of Iowa’s 99 counties have a confirmed EAB infestation.
Originating from China, EAB is an exotic green beetle that wreaks havoc on ash trees. While the adult beetle causes little harm, only nibbling on foliage, the larvae cause considerable damage because they feed on inner bark. While the process can take several years, EAB has killed millions of ash trees across the country by disrupting their ability to carry water and essential nutrients. In the US, EAB was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since that first discovery, EAB has been positively identified across Midwestern states and most recently in 21 Iowa counties over the last several years. EAB is considered one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.
In 2014, we performed countless preventive treatments for Des Moines area residents after EAB was confirmed in some of our closest counties (Jasper, Boone, Story).
“With EAB surrounding the Des Moines area, it’s only a matter of time before the pest reaches Polk County,” said International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Master Arborist Jason Brauckman. “The next decade could be catastrophic, but it doesn’t have to be. Chemical treatments will save viable ash trees – the key is to act now.”
With the buzz about this tree-eating beetle, it is important to know that removing the ash trees is an option but not the only option. Although many people believe that EAB is a death sentence, not all ash trees are doomed. In order to save any ash tree in the area, action must be made. This is especially important now that EAB has reached the counties in the Des Moines metro. Here is what you can do today.
1. Schedule a consultation with our ISA Certified Arborists today. We will identify if any trees in question are ash trees and if these ash trees are infested. Trees should be examined by an ISA Certified Arborist because we’re trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining trees. Wright Outdoor Solutions has highly trained tree experts on staff, many of which are ISA Certified Arborists. Wright Outdoor Solutions was also the first company in Iowa to become accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association. Highly trained experts is another reason to trust Wright Outdoor Solutions.
2. Determine the value of the ash trees. Trees add value to property, contribute to energy savings inside the home, provide shade, beauty and much more. If you have an ash tree that is not yet affected, utilize the free National Tree Benefit Calculator is to help determine the value street-side trees add to property.
3. Once you’ve determine your tree’s value, you have two options. One is to remove the ash tree. The other is to use a chemical treatment to protect trees from an EAB infestation. Treatment for EAB is a systematic insecticide to control the pest population. Our process involves a trunk injection with TREE-äge (active ingredient: Emamectin Benzoate). The treatment is effective for up to two full growing seasons.
4. Finally, you can do nothing and wait, although this is not recommended. Eventually, EAB will kill every ash that’s not treated with insecticide. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if the tree will be affected, but rather when. Trees that are not treated with insecticide or removed now will prove to be extremely costly down the road. A dead tree can be very dangerous and requires specialized equipment to remove.
Des Moines is no stranger to significant tree loss. In the late fifties and early sixties, ash trees were planted to replace the devastating loss of thousands of elm trees due to Dutch elm disease. A major method of prevention is to plant diverse species of tree instead of several of one kind of tree.
If you are interested in preventive treatments for your ash trees, give us a call at 515.987.0800 or request a quote online. Remember that it’s always important to have your trees examined and worked on by an ISA Certified Arborist because we’re trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining your trees. For more information on EAB, click here.