The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, green wood-boring beetle known to attack and kill ash trees. Ash trees infected by the insect have a thinning canopy, dying branches near the top of the tree, feeding notches on the leaflets, and feeding galleries on the tree’s dead bark. Ash trees located on the City right-of-way (ROW) were first treated in 2015. Treatment is recommended to occur every two to three years in order to be most effective in protecting against the insect.
A tree inventory of the City’s ROW trees was completed at the beginning of this summer. 47 ash trees were found, and 10 of these trees appear to be in poor or declining health. Ash trees deemed to be in poor health are more susceptible to becoming infected by the insect and make treatment less effective.
At the City Council meeting on June 18, 2018, the Council voted to re-treat healthy ash trees located in the ROW, and remove the 10 trees appearing to be in poor health or that have already fallen ill. An arborist will confirm the number of trees deemed appropriate for treatment based on the state of the tree’s health. The arborist will also recommend what trees are in too poor of health to be treated and should instead be removed.
After receiving recommendations from an arborist, the City will contract the work for the treatment of the ash trees. Treatment will be conducted through trunk injection, the most environmentally friendly and effective treatment option. The City will also contract work for the removal of unhealthy or infected ash trees.
The City of Urbandale and the City of Des Moines have already adopted EAB management approaches similar to our City’s current plan. Both Cities have opted to treat a select number of healthy ash trees and monitor the health of the remaining untreated trees, removing them as deemed necessary. Windsor Heights will be the only metro City opting to treat all ash trees located in the ROW, with the exception of ill trees which will be removed.
Residents will be informed if an ash tree located adjacent to their property is selected to be removed by a direct mail piece after determining specifically which trees need to be removed. Residents can direct their questions on the City’s new EAB management plan to the Public Works Director.
Urban Forestry Management Plan
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducted an inventory of trees located in Colby Park and the City’s ROW. They then provided an Urban Forestry Management Plan that was received and filed by the City Council by Resolution Number 2020-98 on August 3rd, 2020. The plan is in the file linked below. There are directions on how to use the DNR’s ArcGIS tree inventory linked below as well. This plan will guide operations, maintenance, and budgeting for the City to best manage our stock of urban trees.