- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - The landscape around the Muscatine County Courthouse will change when nine large ash trees are removed because of damage caused by the emerald ash borer.

County officials decided to remove the trees after they were inspected by an expert with the state Department of Natural Resources because they could be a safety hazard, The Muscatine Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2f3C2UN ). Damage caused by the beetle kills the trees and will leave the limbs brittle and ready to fall.

County budget administrator Sherry Seright said initially the county had planned to remove only four trees, but the insect had spread to the others.

“It’s worse than we realized,” she said.

The affected trees will be removed before winter and officials will start looking at what kind of trees should be planted in their place beginning next spring.

“It really is sad that all these trees have to go,” said Matt Bonebrake, who is on the county Board of Supervisors.

Emma Hanigan, a DNR urban forestry coordinator, will help local officials decide what to plant next. Having a variety of different kinds of trees will help protect the landscape from future pests, she said.

“We don’t know what the next invasive pest is so the more diversity you have the better off you are when facing future threats,” she said.

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, https://www.muscatinejournal.com


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