It has been months since Turf magazine has reported on the emerald ash borer (EAB), but it’s not because the destructive invasive insect has gone away—quite the contrary. The EAB continues to march across the eastern U.S. with devastating results to our urban landscapes.
EAB was first discovered in the U.S. in southeast Michigan the summer of 2002. This destructive wood boring pest, a native of eastern Russia and Asia, is believed to arrived perhaps a decade earlier in a shipping pallet and packing materials in cargo ships. Since its discovery in the U.S., the EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees, and there is some evidence it has been attacking the white fringetree, as well.
Word now comes that the EAB has been confirmed in 21 counties across Iowa in spite of a statewide quarantine announced this past February. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the expected loss of millions of ash tress across Iowa will cost $2.5 billion over the next two decades in higher energy expenses from lost shade, rising stormwater retention costs and reduced property values.
A recent article in the Des Moines Register outlines the city’s ambitious $10 million plan to remove badly damaged ash trees and threating several thousand other ash trees. Cities are finding that treating ash trees is more cost effective than taking them down and replacing them with shade trees that EABs don’t attack.
To date, the EAB has spread to 24 states in the eastern U.S., and it slows no signs of respecting state borders, quarantines or not.