Davenport Crews Get Ahead of Pesky Problem - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Crews Get Ahead of Pesky Problem

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It's a pesky problem, forcing Davenport city crews to be proactive. They're cutting down hundreds of ash trees before the Emerald Ash Borer can get to them. Davenport City Arborist Chris Johnson says, "It's sad to see these trees go, but there really is no other option."

He says if his crews don't fell these, the Emerald Ash Borer will. "When it hits and you start seeing death and mortality of trees, it happens so fast at such high numbers, you have to get out ahead of the bug." He says otherwise, crews could be faced with thousands of dead trees, thousands of removals, all at once. "Once they die," Johnson says, "they become very brittle really quickly. So they are going to just start falling apart." A potential liability for the city, and a problem for crews who don't know when the next limb could fall.

At this point, Johnson says, he doesn't know when the Emerald Ash Borer will make its first appearance inside the city limits, checking for the tell-tale holes the bugs leave behind at the soccer fields and at Credit Island. He takes us there, pointing at two trees, telling us, "I see some flecking of the bark in the upper canopy, those lighter spots." And while he hasn't seen the bug that could have caused those, Johnson says he will. "There's no way the bug's not gonna come here, 'cuz it can fly three miles on it's own, no problem. And it just so happens Credit Island is exactly three miles from the infested site."

That's at Rock Island's Hasselroth Park. Part of why Davenport crews started the process last year, and will continue to treat and cut trees for the next five years.  "Right now we're at 3,000 ash trees and we hope to be able to save 10 percent of those by treatments down the road," Johnson says.

Between the treatments and cutting down trees, he says his budget is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years. But some of that is coming back. Crews are giving these trees a greater purpose by creating benches that are sold at the Food Hub, and mulch you can get as well. All monies raised go back into the city's general fund.

So far, the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in eight Iowa communities, and in just about every county in our Illinois viewing area.

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