Forestry experts say an insect threatens to wipe out the entire population of ash trees in a matter of three to seven years in Burlington.
â??Yeah it will eventually cover the state of Iowa,â?? Casey Chadwick, City of Burlington Forester said. â??Itâ??s come from Michigan; it has hit Pennsylvania, Illinois the whole stateâ??s under quarantine, so itâ??s only a matter of time.â??
The Department of Natural Resources discovered the Emerald Ash Borer is becoming a problem in parts of Southeast Iowa.
â??Itâ??s an invasive beetle thatâ??s basically attacking all of our trees, all the ash trees anyways,â?? Chadwick said. â??It lays its eggs, and the larvae under the bark basically cut off all the flow to the leaves and the upper canopy of the tree.â??
Chadwick estimates nearly 40 percent of ash trees in Burlington show signs of possible EAB infestation.
â??Weâ??re probably gonna do a combination of removal as well as treatment, just kind of lengthen out the removal process,â?? he said.
He says symptoms are difficult to detect because a tree can look healthy two to seven years before disease is obvious.
â??They look for D-shaped holes, theyâ??re really tiny, about 1/8 inch,â?? Chadwick said. â??Look for declining ash trees, typically from the top back, sprouts coming from the base or the trunk of the tree; you can see woodpecker flecking or woodpecker activity in the ash trees.â??
EAB is also killing trees in the City of Fairfield.
â??Weâ??ve been working closely with the DNR and other state agencies to see the different options what we can do as far as treating and/or replacing,â?? Levi Amrime, a Fairfield Parks and Rec worker said.
While chemical treatments are an option, it proves to be an expensive process.
â??For one tree, or a few trees, itâ??s probably manageable, but when you start looking at the quantities of the cities, what theyâ??re responsible for, you gotta multiply that times however many trees they have,â?? Chadwick said. â??A typical 20 inch tree, I think is gonna cost us between $200-$300.â??
So the majority of the infected ash trees will have to be removed.
â??It makes it difficult because we have a bunch of beautiful trees in the park and with the oak wilt thatâ??s been going through, weâ??ve lost a lot of oak trees already, and now weâ??re about to lose a bunch of our ash trees, and itâ??s sad to see so many trees go at one time that we have to replace,â?? Amrime said.
Experts say the best option for landowners with infested ash trees is to remove them or inject them with pesticide if you think they are salvageable and worth the investment.