UPDATED: Emerald Ash Borer now found in third Iowa location: Here’s what you need to know

ashborer

Dustin Hinrichs of Trees Forever examines the leaves and seeds from an ash tree. Homeowners can identify ash trees from the compound leaf often with 5-9 leaflets. The seeds look like canoe paddles. (Photo courtesy Trees Forever)

An Emerald Ash Borer. (Photo: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources/Wikimedia Commons)

Update (8/1/2013):  The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has announced that the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Fairfield, a third location in Iowa since 2010.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), one of the most destructive tree pests in North America, has been positively identified in a residential tree in Burlington in Des Moines County, the second location where invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. It initially was found on Henderson Island in the Mississippi River in Allamakee County in 2010.

Shannon Ramsay, founding president & CEO of Trees Forever, an Iowa Environmental Council member organization, said her team is actively helping communities prepare for the effects of the beetle’s arrival.

“Trees Forever is working with many statewide partners to help communities and homeowners prepare for the significant loss of ash trees, and to be proactive about planting a diversity of new species in their place,” Ramsay said.

In a fact sheet available online, Trees Forever offers the following advice to home or landowners concerned that their trees are at risk:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Identify the ash trees on your property.
  • Stay abreast of treatment information. There is no cure, only prevention.
  • If EAB is within 15 miles, consider treatment of ash trees.
  • Do not treat ash trees if EAB has not been found within 15 miles. You would most likely be wasting time and money.
  • Most important – diversity! To prevent a future problem such as EAB, plant a diverse mix of trees and plants.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture has also released details about this threat:

State Entomologist Robin Pruisner said the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, along with USDA, will be issuing a quarantine for Des Moines County in the near future. A quarantine by state and U.S. agriculture departments means that hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips cannot be moved out of the area without a permit.

Pruisner said all Iowans are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants, or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

EAB is native to eastern Asia, and was detected in the United States near Detroit, Mich., in 2002. Since 2003, the Iowa EAB Team has been conducting annual surveys to determine whether and where this pest is in Iowa. The team includes officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USDA Forest Service.

“Treatments against EAB are too late this year. If you are within 15 miles of Burlington, Iowa, and have a healthy ash tree, preventive treatments can be made mid-April to mid-May 2014,” said ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologist Mark Shour. For more details, see ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM 2084, www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf.

Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. Burlington has about 700 ash trees in the public right-of-way and an estimated 2,000 residential trees.

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