Johnston officials have decided to remove up to five dozen ash trees before an insect pest arrives to kill them.
Officials hope that planting a variety of other species willcreate a healthier canopy before emerald ash borers reach the DesMoines suburb. Only trees showing signs of distress will be removed.
Emma Hanigan, an urban forester for the state, told The Des Moines Register that Johnston is among the first communities in Iowa to cut down large numbers of vulnerable trees before the beetles arrive.
The state says the ash borer has been detected in three Iowa locations so far. The beetles are native to Asia and were first detected in Michigan in 2002. Since then the insects have killed more than 50 million ash trees.