On Tuesday, January 19, the City of Des Moines reported that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in the city of Des Moines. The borer was found in a residential tree on the western edge of the city. Since last reporting on EAB in May 2015, the number of Iowa counties now affected by this invasive beetle has reached 29. To see a full map of the infestation status in Iowa, head to the Iowa Tree Pests site here.
What is EAB?
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 U.S., EAB was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since that first discovery, EAB has been positively identified across Midwestern states. It is considered one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.
Have An Ash Tree or Several? What Are Your Options?
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. Here is what you can do today.
We will identify if the trees in question are ash trees. If ash trees are identified, we will then assess if they 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. We were also the first company in Iowa to become accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association.
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 to help determine the value street-side trees add to property.
Once the value of an uninfected tree is determined, two options exist. Either remove the ash tree or medicate it with the chemical treatment, TREE-äge, to protect the ash from an EAB infestation. Applied similarly to an IV, TREE-äge is a preventive treatment, and it can cure minimally infested trees.
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. No one can predict the next insect or disease that will harm the trees that color our Iowa landscapes. Therefore, it’s important to plant a variety of trees (and other plants) to avoid significant tree loss. Tree diversification will help prevent the loss of trees in the future.
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 to always have your trees examined and worked on by an ISA Certified Arborist, as they are specifically trained in tree care. For more information on EAB, click here.