City encourages homeowners to treat their trees
The city of Lakeville has partnered with Rainbow Treecare to help residents with the process to determine if their ash trees have the invasive species emerald ash borer and what route to take if the tree is infected.
Emerald ash borer was confirmed in Lakeville in October 2017. It is an invasive beetle from Asia that feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, which affects the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.
City Forester Emily Ball has taken steps along with a team to determine which trees in Lakeville have been infested with emerald ash borer. In December 2017, emerald ash borer was found to have spread throughout the northern half of the city.
“Most infested trees were found on private properties,” Ball said.
Ball took the issue to the City Council, and it approved treating 18,000 trees on city property that are in good condition within a two-year time period by injecting them with insecticides. They will remove the trees that are in the poorest condition.
The city has hired Rainbow Treecare to perform the trunk injections on select public trees throughout the city from June 25 to July 31.
Residents who have an ash tree on their private property can have it inspected by Rainbow Treecare at no cost. If the tree is found to have emerald ash borer, is in good condition and is at least 10 inches in diameter, a discounted treatment rate is offered to the Lakeville homeowners.
According to Ball, this rate can range anywhere from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars.
The chemicals injected into the tree are not harmful to animals, people, soil or plants, according to Director of Municipal Consulting Jeff Hafner.
“A series of holes are drilled at the soil line and on the base of the tree,” Hafner said.
The product is then gently pumped into the tree using a harness system and a bottle that acts as a reservoir. The tree will then naturally take the product up. The trees also need to be treated once every year or every other year in order to keep the trees healthy.
If a tree is treated by Rainbow Treecare continuously and it still dies from emerald ash borer, the customer will be refunded the last treatment cost, Hafner added.
Hafner also said that homeowners with affected ash trees on their private property should take action, but it does not have to happen immediately.
“There is a big fear that if (treatment) doesn’t happen immediately, the trees are at risk. The trees are at risk and action should be taken, but it can happen this summer or next summer. It doesn’t have to be today,” he said.
If trees are left untreated, they will die and then have to be removed. Dying trees can become hazardous, according to Ball.
“It’s less expensive to inject and preserve your ash tree … and you get the benefits of the tree,” Ball said. “There are about 10,000 ash trees on private property … in maintained areas. … We hope that homeowners and business and other areas will take part in the program.”
More information about emerald ash borer can be found at http://www.lakevillemn.gov/667/Emerald-Ash-Borer