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Emerald Ash Borer preparedness


According to one of the nation’s largest tree care companies, The Care of Trees, Ash trees comprise 10 percent to 40 percent of local urban forests.

It is unknown how the ash borer will spread, so time estimates on reaching various places range from 5 to 10 years depending on natural rate of spreading and unpredictable human transport of larva and eggs.

What will be the extent of the damage? This blight could be as detrimental to the urban canopy as Dutch elm disease was in the late 20th century or the American chestnut blight in the early 20th century.


How Big is the Problem? Consider This…

      Over 40 million ash trees have been killed in Michigan. Millions more in other infested states.
      The majority of Iowa towns and cities have planted ash trees along streets and in parks.
      Many private homes have ash trees for shade and comfort.
      Removal and re-planting of dead, and dying ash trees will cost Iowa communities millions of dollars.

Information for Grinnell, IA

Nearly 1/5 of Grinnell’s street trees and park trees are ash trees, providing over $800k in annual benefit in air quality improvement, energy savings, and property value (from the Grinnell Tree Inventory 2011 report).

Contact Dave Popp, Director of Public Services for the city of Grinnell, for further questions about EAB. (641) 236-2632. The Iowa State Extension is also available for questions, contact Mark Shour at (515) 294-5963.

Treatments for ash trees should not be considered at this time. Only locations 15 miles from confirmed infested areas would be candidates for various insecticide application methods.

What can I do to keep my ash tree healthy? Minimize known stressors (parking vehicles on the tree’s root zone, construction projects affecting tree or tree’s roots, mechanical damage by lawn mowers or string trimmers, and landscaping around the base of the tree – adding extra soil, blocks, hostas or other plants, etc.). Provide water for the tree during very dry periods. (IA Sierra Club info sheet 2009).

If you are thinking about planting new trees

Permits are required for trees planted in the street right-of-way. (PDF form for permit) For other trees, homeowners are advised to do an examination of site characteristics (including above ground and underground utilities, amount of water available and/or shade) before planting.

Native species tree list from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources: IA Native trees 20 DNR. Including hornbeam, black maple, 7 species of oak trees, basswood/linden, hawthorn, serviceberry, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, nannyberry, buckeye, dogwood, hickory, and witchhazel.


In the News

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that the emerald ash borer, which has been found in 15 states, could cost state and local governments roughly $7 billion over the next 25 years to remove and replace dead ash trees. (Chicago Sun-Times, July 19, 2013)


A campground near Davenport. Most of the trees visible in the picture are Ash trees.

Bailey Deitz (KWQC.com, July 23) reports on how the Quad City Area is planning to address an Emerald Ash Borer infestation. West Lake Park near Davenport has 60-70% ash trees and City officials are proactively managing species distribution (planting more oaks) to prevent empty landscapes and lessen the impact.





Aug 1, 2013 – EAB confirmed in Fairfield, IA, 50 miles W of Burlington and 25 miles E of Ottumwa. Third sighting in IA.
July 30, 2013 – EAB found in Morrison, IL, 50 miles NE of the Quad Cities.
July 16, 2013 – the EAB was found in Burlington, IA, 30 miles E of Galesburg, IL and 60 miles S of Iowa City. This is the second sighting in IA.
Map of EAB affected counties in the Midwest, as of July 1, 2013 (www.emeraldashborer.info).


IowaTreePests.com has compiled links and information on the invasive pest.
IL State Extension pictorial gallery and accompanying explanations for ash borer images is helpful for visualizing what goes on with an ash borer infestation.
EAB Management options from the ISU Extension is a trusted source if you’re considering further action.
Iowa Public Radio “River to River” reports on the EAB. State Forester Emma Hanigan is working with small communities under 10,000 to organize tree inventories.