- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A pesky insect that slowly kills ash trees has been found in Dubuque and is expected to spread quickly through the city’s extensive ash tree population.

The larvae of the emerald ash borer chews into the layer of wood under the bark, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients to an ash tree, the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1LKZtJz ) reported.

Infestations of the bug have been confirmed in 28 counties across Iowa, plus several in Wisconsin and one in Illinois. In Dubuque, the invasive insect was found in dozens of privately owned ash trees.

Ash trees comprise about 24 percent of Dubuque’s tree stock, or about 1,750 trees.

Jon Kelly, an arborist with the Mississippi Valley Tree Experts, Inc., said the local ash population will begin an “inevitable spiral of decline” and notes that the bugs probably have been in the area for several years.

Infestations are hard to recognize early, and once they hit the five-year mark, the ash tree mortality rate increases rapidly, City Forester Steve Pregler said.

“We’re expecting that it’ll start spreading somewhat rapidly throughout the community,” he said.

Hundreds of trees have been treated with insecticides in an effort to help prolong the life of the trees.

Pregler said fewer ash trees will mean less shade in the city and will impact the mitigation of stormwater.

“I think it’ll really change the face of the community,” Pregler said.


Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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