- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs park officials have decided to treat most of the city’s ash trees to protect them from the invading insect known as the emerald ash borer.

Parks Director Larry Foster believes the emerald ash borer is an inevitable threat to local ash trees. When in the larvae stage, the wood-boring insect tunnels under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients and ultimately killing the tree.

The Daily Nonpareil (http://bit.ly/1TPPwgA ) reports state officials say 29 counties in Iowa, mostly in the southern and eastern parts of the state, have reported seeing the insects.

Council Bluffs plans to spend nearly $59,000 on removing unhealthy ash trees. The cost will jump to $140,000 the following year as the city begins treating the remaining trees

“We are treating and saving 97 percent of all ash trees,” Foster said. “It’s cheaper to treat than to remove them.”

According to the director, there a recent survey revealed that there are 1,260 ash trees on city-owned land and public right-of-ways, less than expected.

“It was fewer than what we would have guessed, and, by guessing, you can’t establish a good plan,” Foster said. “Now, through this inventory, we know where every ash tree is, its size and condition.”

Foster says that while the city has plans for the trees on public ground, property owners will need to determine their own course of action to deal with the insect.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com

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