Preparing Iowans for Emerald Ash Borer

Mark H. Shour, P&S, Entomology Department


An exotic, invasive insect pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis) has destroyed more than 25 million ash (Fraxinus species) trees in Midwestern states.  This pest is as close as greater Chicago, IL.  EAB is spread long distances by movement of ash wood products (nursery stock, logs, branches, firewood, and large chips).  There are an estimated 60 million ash trees in Iowa.  Many people from EAB infested states (MI, IN, OH, IL, and PA) visit Iowa each year to vacation or hunt, bringing firewood with them. Persons fighting EAB in infested states indicate that if they had been prepared, their responses would have been more effective and less costly.


To provide practical outreach to Iowans on EAB identification, signs and symptoms, and an appropriate response mechanism.


Outreach involved a multifaceted approach. An Internet Webcast was broadcast on March 15, 2007, viewed at ISUE county offices.  The Webcast involved presenters from Michigan who have been battling EAB, and was geared for city, county, and state level government officials. Iowa citizens can watch the archived Webcast on the Extension Homepage.  Three hands-on, bark-peeling workshops were given on April 11 (Davenport) or April 12 (Dubuque).  These were open to arborists, horticulturists, city or parks personnel, foresters, and others involved in tree health/maintenance issues.  Other outreach efforts included presentations for pesticide applicator training, annual meetings (Shade Tree Short Course, Iowa Turfgrass Institute, Iowa Association of County Board Employees, Iowa Parks & Recreation Association, Trees Forever, and Iowa Arborist Association), ISU campus concerns (Facilities Planning & Management, Horticulture faculty), county-level meetings (Master Gardener, Master Woodland Manager, Ft. Dodge Home Expo, Greene county fair), print media (Yard & Garden column, Quad City Times, Iowa Horticulturist), radio (WOI), and visual media (Channel 6 Davenport, Channel 13 Des Moines, RFD cable television, and Gardening in the Zone). Various types of presentations, print materials, and links for EAB were made available to the public at ISUE Pest Management & Environments Web site


Approximately 3500 persons were impacted with one or more outreach method. More than 125 telephone calls were received from Iowans wanting more information or advice on EAB. National awareness of ISUEs effort has been noted and commended by the US Forest Service and the EAB National Hotline, based on calls or emails they have received from Iowans.

July 3, 2007
130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

Page last updated: August 3, 2007
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