West Des Moines decides to employ insecticide treatment to save some ash trees from pest

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — West Des Moines officials have decided to use an insecticide to save some city ash trees from a pest that's killed millions of them elsewhere in the country.

The city had planned to remove all 1,100 city ashes over four years, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1xeeCy1 ). But city officials said this week that a product called TREE-age has been working in many cities, including Milwaukee.

John Olds, West Des Moines' urban forestry supervisor, said healthy adult ash trees with diameters of 10 to 12 inches should be able to receive the injection treatments. Costs are not projected to increase with the new strategy, officials said.

Des Moines residents Tony and Connie Powers, who live on Woodland Avenue, said they were pleased with the approach that will likely extend the life of their ash tree. They have watched their tree and others like it form a small forest in their corner of West Des Moines since the late 1980s.

"We have such a beautiful canopy of ash trees," Tony Powers said. "That's one of the significant features of our street. Can you imagine if the city were to cut down all of our ash trees? It would just leave the neighborhood with a barren look."

The city action comes as the emerald ash borer advances elsewhere in Iowa, with infestations already detected in 13 counties. The beetles are native to Asia and were first detected in Michigan in 2002. Since then the insects have killed more than 50 million ash trees.

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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