- Associated Press - Saturday, June 23, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls has seen an uptick in the number of permit applications for arborists and tree-trimming companies after the invasive emerald ash borer was discovered in the city.

City Hall has received at least a dozen applications from companies over the necessary licensing to remove and apply chemical treatments to ash trees since the insect species was identified last month, the Argus Leader reported. Emerald ash borer are expected to destroy more than 80,000 ash trees in the area over the next decade.

There are 46 licensed arborist companies in Sioux Falls but not all of them are able to apply injection treatments that make the trees inhospitable to in the invasive beetles. It requires a different kind of license offered by the city.

Duane Stall, forestry specialist for Sioux Falls, said he expects to see even more incoming city permit applications.

“Before the discovery, we had 11 that provided insect and disease treatment,” Stall said. “Now there’s 24 that provide that service.”

The state and city’s emerald ash borer management plan involves a moratorium on cutting down ash trees during the summer months. So many of the area’s tree trimmers are compensating for the decline in tree removal by expanding their service offerings to tree treatments.

“Some (applicants) were existing arborists,” he said. “This is an opportunity for them to expand.”

Dr. John Ball, a forestry specialist with the South Dakota Agriculture Department, is warning arborists about skimping on treatments in order to increase profit margins. Arborists in some areas have been found to dilute their treatment formula as a cost savings mechanism.

“I’m going to go around this fall, for trees that have been treated, and randomly check them for the amount of chemical I find in them,” Ball said. “And I better find the right amount of chemical.”


Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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