With infestation looming, Iowa’s Ash Trees get the Ax

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It’s a costly mass tree-icide, but perhaps a necessary one.

City and park managers across Iowa have begun removing thousands of healthy ash trees, preempting a strike from a seemingly unstoppable  brand of tree-eating beetle, the Des Moines Register reports.

The emerald ash borer, which killed tens of millions of trees in Southeastern Michigan and tens of millions more across the midwest and into parts of Canada before it was first spotted last May in Iowa, works by burrowing under a tree’s bark and cutting off its food supply. It can be live in a tree for years without detection.

States highlighted green have been affected by the emerald ash beetle. Credit: http://www.emeraldashborer.info

In all, some 88 million ash trees grow across Iowa. The loss of about 3.1 million urban ash trees in Iowa could cost cities $7.3 billion for removal, replacement and lost landscape value, the Department of Natural Resources told the Register.

Officials hope that preemptive action will help communities to bear the cost and labor gradually while newly-planted, hardier trees grow at a staggered pace.

For more on the the dastardly beetle, see this list of frequently asked questions compiled by the ISU department of entomology.

2 thoughts on “With infestation looming, Iowa’s Ash Trees get the Ax

  1. Poor Trees! I Think I Actually Grew Up In Iowa City Iowa, With Some Of These Trees Around! So Sad That The Trees Are Dying. Maybe It’s Time To Hit The Rewind Button In A Good Way! (Yes, Let’s All Hit The Rewind Button, But In A Really Good Way!) Those Trees Are So Pretty! I Think Those Trees Are So Pretty! 🙂

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