‘Residents should start a plan for ash trees’

City in process of removing ROW trees

Fort Dodge residents with ash trees may want to soon consider whether to have them treated for emerald ash borer or removed altogether.

EAB is an invasive insect that feeds under the bark of ash trees. It disrupts the transport of nutrients and water throughout the tree, which ultimately leads to the tree dying. EAB was confirmed in Webster County in July.

Throughout the past six years, the city of Fort Dodge Forestry Department has been preparing for EAB.

The city has been removing ash trees from city right of way and will continue to remove the trees in the coming months.

“We’ve known for several years it was just a matter of time before the infestation made it to Fort Dodge,” said Parks and Forestry Superintendent Kevin Lunn.

To date, the Forestry Department has removed almost 1,900 ash trees from city rights of way.

“The Forestry Department made the decision to proactively remove ash trees from rights of way in preparation of its arrival,” Lunn said. “A dead ash tree is brittle and has the potential to be very dangerous.”

Once infected, the trees don’t die immediately, according to Lunn, who said it usually takes two to four years before the tree totally dies.

But Lunn advises residents to take a look at their ash trees.

“Homeowners in Fort Dodge should start a plan for ash trees on their property,” Lunn said. “Now that the EAB has been confirmed in Webster County, most ash trees will begin to show signs of stress in three to five years or sooner,”

The lives of the trees can be prolonged with chemical treatments which can be very effective, according to Jaime Brinkman, client service representative and certified arborist for Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape.

But Lunn wants homeowners to know that treatment for the EAB is not a cure; but, in most cases, will prolong the life of your ash tree as long as the treatment is administered every one to two years, depending on the chemicals used.

For trees already infested, as long as there is less than 30% die-back in the treetop, the tree can be treated.

Residents who have chosen to treat their right of way trees have until August of 2021 to have a professional administer the initial treatment for EAB if they wish to keep their trees, according to city officials.

Proof of treatment is required to remain on the list of trees not to be removed. However, homeowners are reminded that ash trees on the city rights of way that have been treated do remain property of the city. Treatment failure could lead to the removal of dying or dangerous trees by the Forestry Department.

For questions about ash trees located on rights of way, please contact the Forestry Department at 515-576-7237, Ext. 3, or via email at forestry@fortdodgeiowa.org.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today