Emerald ash borer has been confirmed near Alta, Iowa — just 80 miles from the South Dakota border, says John Ball, South Dakota Extension forester and South Dakota Department of Agriculture forest health specialist.
Emerald ash borer infestations also have been confirmed in Omaha, Neb.; Minneapolis-St. Paul and its surrounding metro areas, and about half the counties in Iowa.
“The most ominous finding with the Alta discovery is that it was about 100 miles from the closest known emerald ash borer population in Iowa,” Ball says.
Infestations are only “new” in the sense that they were recently discovered, not that the tree was newly infested. Generally, when a tree is found to be infested with emerald ash borer, it has been infested for several years already, Ball says.
Little can be done to stop ash borer on the farm, in shelterbelts or field windbreaks. Individual trees might be saved by a continuous pesticide application regime, but that isn’t practical on farms and ranches.
“Now is the time to continue to reduce our dependence on ash for our windbreaks,” he says.