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Local Editorials

EAB’s discovery was only matter of time

It was inevitable, only a matter of time. I must admit I didn’t expect the insect so soon in Jasper County. And, the odds are that several, if not many, infested trees are present in not only Newton, but dozens of communities across the state. 

Warm weather will allow a more informed citizenry to check their ash trees, and it’s fully expected that many new infestations will be found.

I have written columns on EAB since 2008, knowing that Iowa was in the path of yet another insect pest. Any who have read these columns know I am not a fan of chemical treatment for EAB, as this insect does it’s damage under the bark, and thus is extremely difficult to treat with current conventional methods and chemicals. 

Some arborists swear that inoculation of the tree with certain chemicals will activate the transfer of these compounds through the xylem and phloem, transfer cells of the cambium. Since the larvae of the EAB kills an Ash tree by girdling the cambium, some “success” has been noted with the larvae dying by ingesting the inoculate.

However, this is a “hit and miss” approach, and requires on-going treatments which will not make the tree immune to the EAB, and only extends its life by a few years.

My recommended approach is to expect the worst, and hope for the best. In so doing, proceed as soon as possible by planting a variety of new trees in your yard. A list for consideration, from which you should select a few, include River and White Barked Birch, Hackberry, Yellowwood, Ginkgo, Honey Locust (thornless), Kentucky Coffeetree, Larch, Sweetgum, Tuliptree, Blackgum, some Oak species, Linden, Redbud, Dogwoods, White Fir, Norway or Serbian Spruce, White Pine and Eastern Hemlock.

Jasper and Polk counties have ample nurseries, and they will gladly recommend tree species that will do well in our climate, and as of now, are not the focus of concern regarding insect pests or pathogens. One would note that I failed to suggest any Maple species.

That is because the Asian Longhorn Beetle is another devastating insect pest that is taking a toll on Iowa’s Maples. Actually, Boxelder is a member of the Maple family, but sadly, the Longhorn Beetle seems to leave that “weed tree” alone.

Newton appears to have an abundance of Maples (65 percent), as testified by a survey of years ago. DNR foresters are working with Newton on conducting a more comprehensive community tree inventory that would allow for a better means of species selection.

Since each community is a little different in their established species, a tree inventory is a good investment for each to have.

Should any reader desire additional information or assistance, the state Departments of Agriculture and DNR have specialists in forestry; the Iowa State Extension Service can provide information, and locally, the County Conservation Board or City Parks and Recreation Dept. will provide guidance.

• • • 

During the session, call me at 515-281-3371; write me at the Senate, Capitol Bldg., Des Moines, 50319; or e-mail  I value your thoughts and opinions.

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