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Maintaining the Emerald Ash Borer

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

A destructive insect poses a major risk for ash trees in Iowa. Emerald Ash Borer is a metallic-green beetle measuring approximately half an inch long. The immature stage of the insect feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the trees ability to transport water and nutrients.

Just over a week ago, Emerald Ash Borer was sited in Linn County. DNR Forest Health Coordinator Tivon Feeley said this is the 29th find of Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa.

“They like to tunnel and feed underneath the bark of the tree and it disrupts the flow of nutrients and that’s what kills the tree. It is not native to the United States. It is commonly found in China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Russia. We believe it got into the United States in packing material and came in through Michigan,” Feeley said.

Feeley said there a just a few options to stop the spread of the insect. He says unfortunately they are not great options because they cost money.

“The first option is to simply remove the tree when it becomes infested or before and replanting something that is not an ash tree. The next option is that there are treatments available that you can pour around the base of the tree. It is called Imidacloprid. It works well in trees up to 20 inches in diameter at chest height. It does not work well in trees above that and it has to be applied every year,” Feeley said.

Feeley said the best thing someone can do is plant different species of trees so we’re not set up like Dutch elm disease and now like we are with ash trees.

The first confirmation of Emerald Ash Borer was in 2010 near the Iowa Wisconsin border.

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