State officials hope an emerald ash borer infestation in Newton – the eighth such Iowa infestation documented in the past year – will spur Iowans to action.
“I hope this latest EAB find is a wake-up call to landowners and communities in Iowa that there is no time to waste in preparing for this destructive beetle,” said State Entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
“The time is now to determine how many ash trees you have, what condition they’re in, and what you intend to do with those ash trees as EAB works its way across Iowa,” Pruisner said.
Iowa has an estimated 55 million ash trees, about 3.1 million of them in urban areas, where the cost of removal has been estimated at $1,000 each.
Iowa’s ninth EAB infestation overall, in a residential tree in Newton in Jasper County, was announced Friday. Tests confirmed that a sample collected March 20 was indeed the larva of the tree-killing pest.
Officials said a Newton resident reported suspect ash trees to city staff, who contacted the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau.
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 was issued on Feb. 4.
Until last year, only one Iowa infestation had been confirmed -- in the state's far northeast corner in 2010.
Four were confirmed last year -- in Des Moines, Jefferson, Cedar and Union counties -- and already this year infestations have been confirmed in Black Hawk, Wapello, Bremer and Jasper counties.The Iowa EAB Team, which includes members from several state and federal agencies, 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.