By Mitchell Schmidt, The Gazette
CEDAR RAPIDS — With the emerald ash borer considered widespread throughout Cedar Rapids, officials are trying to spread the word to property owners about identifying and preventing damage to trees.
A special workshop will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today at Time Check Hall in the City Services Center, 500 15th Ave. SW. Speakers will include officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Trees Forever, according to a news release.
Topics will include emerald ash borer biology and status in Iowa, treatment, and new tree diversity. The city’s ash borer plan and repurposing of wood removal also will be discussed.
The beetle is native to Eastern Asia. Its larvae burrow into ash tree bark and block nutrients from flowing to the rest of the tree.
The beetle first was found in Cedar Rapids a few years ago. This summer, confirmed infestations had been identified along Edgewood Road, south of Ellis Boulevard NW; along Glass Road NE, east of Edgewood Road NE; near 27th Avenue SW, west of Interstate 380; and along 33rd Avenue SW, west of Sixth Street SW.
The city maintains about 7,000 ash trees. Probably all eventually will be removed, possibly in a span of five to 10 years.
Homeowners wishing to treat trees in the right of way near their homes to slow the infestation may do so. But they are urged to call the city first at (319) 286-5747 so the city knows not to remove the trees.
Since 2010, the presence of emerald ash borers has been confirmed in 61 Iowa counties.