WATERLOO, Iowa – Emerald Ash Borer has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Waterloo, the county seat of Black Hawk County, making this the sixth location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. EAB kills all ash tree species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.
The current EAB infestation was found by city employees performing routine trimming on street trees. With the assistance of the Iowa EAB Team, additional trees were found to be infested in a 10 square block area on the northeast side of Waterloo. The larvae were positively identified by federal identifiers as EAB.
A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states will be issued on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.
“The Iowa EAB Team determined that a whole-state approach to the quarantine is warranted at this time. Communities need to focus on planning and implementing proactive measures to prepare for EAB in their urban forest,” said State Entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The Iowa EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners and includes officials from IDALS, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.
EAB infestations previously had been discovered in Allamakee County in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in August 2013, Cedar County in October 2013 and Union County in December 2013.
The Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans 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.
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.
“Forestry Bureau staff with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have completed 242 urban tree inventories in Iowa, in communities with less than 5,000 residents. Statewide, Iowa averages 16-17 percent ash on city property, though the ash component can get as high as 87 percent. We hope this latest infestation will motivate communities that have not taken an inventory of their forestry resources, to do so very soon,” said State Forester Paul Tauke.
Waterloo’s urban forest includes 4,364 ash trees located on public properties in the city. The three city-owned golf courses have 649 ash trees. The 52 parks in Waterloo contain 725 ash trees. And the trees located along the street rights-of-way include 2,990 ash trees.
The City of Waterloo plans to remove the ash trees infested with the emerald ash borer on public properties and continue to reduce its ash populations in the public areas. “This is a devastating blow to Waterloo’s tree resources, as we will be losing 17 percent of the trees on public property over the next few years. It will also be quite a challenge for the forestry staff to absorb these tree removals in their day-to-day duties and still provide a fraction of the services that Waterloo citizens are used to,” said Waterloo City Forester Todd Derifield.
The number of ash trees on private property in Waterloo is unknown. Property owners in the City of Waterloo who have an ash tree on their private property will be responsible for the removal of dead and dying trees.
“Preventive treatments next spring — mid-April to mid-May 2014 — are available to protect healthy and valuable ash trees within 15 miles of a known infested area,” said ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologist Mark Shour. For more details, see ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM2084.
Contact Iowa EAB Team members to have suspicious looking trees checked. The State of Iowa will continue to track the movement of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, an EAB must be collected and verified by USDA entomologists.
To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population, please visit www.IowaTreePests.com. Or, for more information contact any of the following members of the Iowa EAB Team:
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Dustin Vande Hoef, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, 515-281-3375
Kevin Baskins, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-281-8395
Laura Sternweis, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 515-294-0775