About your Ash Tree

A healthy ash tree provides numerous benefits to property owners, including increased property value, conservation of natural gas, capture of storm water, carbon dioxide storage, conservation of electricity and increased air quality.

Ash trees will be threatened as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) approaches Council Bluffs over the next two to four years. Without intervention, the EAB will potentially destroy hundreds of ash trees in the city.

While the city has a plan for public, non-forested ash trees, property owners will need to determine their own course of action for ash trees on their properties. Property owners have three options:

  • Treat the tree (if it is healthy)
  • Remove the tree (if it is unhealthy)
  • Let nature take its course until the tree becomes hazardous, at which time it will have to be removed

How do I know whether or not to save my ash tree?

If your tree is healthy and growing and enhances your landscape, it is likely worth saving. Healthy trees will still have more than half their leaves and show few, if any, signs of EAB infestation.

An unhealthy ash tree, with more than half of its leaves missing, will likely not survive EAB infestation and should be removed. Signs of EAB infestation include:

  • Dieback (thinning) of the upper and outer crown of the tree
  • New growth on the tree’s trunk
  • Split bark or bark chipped off by a woodpecker
  • D-shaped holes on the bark
  • S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark

What options do I have for treating my ash tree?

Several insecticide options are available to effectively treat ash trees threatened by the EAB. For a complete up to date list of treatment options, please visit the Iowa State Extension website.

When should I treat my ash tree?

For best results, insecticides should be applied when the EAB has been identified within 15 miles of your home. Treating your tree any earlier than this is unnecessary and will likely be a waste of money.

Once the EAB has been identified near your community, you shouldn’t wait too long to take action. Most insecticides act systemically, meaning they depend on the tree to transport the chemicals through its system. If a tree has already been infested, insecticides are less likely to be successful because of blockages caused by the EAB.

EAB egg hatching peaks between early June and mid-August; the best time to treat your tree is in the spring, before eggs begin to hatch.

My ash tree is dead or dying – how do I remove it?

If your tree is located in a yard or along a street, it will most likely become a hazard over time and you should remove it immediately.

If your tree is located within a woodlot, it is less likely to cause danger and can provide a valuable habitat for wildlife. If you think the tree might pose a hazard to you or to others, it’s best to play it safe and remove it. Otherwise, you can let nature take its course.

If you plan to remove your tree, hire a licensed, reliable and insured arborist or tree service company.