Burlington braces for costly battle against Emerald Ash Borer

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It's a dreary day on the links at the Burlington Golf Club. Dozens of majestic Ash trees are in jeopardy. They're threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer.

"They're going to be void of trees there," said Burlington Forester Casey Chadwick. "They've got several more on the grounds, too."

Burlington is bracing to lose more than 1,000 Ash trees in the next five to seven years. Equipment is ready for city crews. They'll start chopping down small trees next spring. They'll invest about $100,000 to treat larger ones.

"You're going to have a lot of open spots," Chadwick said. "It all kind of depends where and why the trees are there."

Iowa tree experts will visit Burlington on November 14. That's when they'll examine and test trees while holding a conference on the problem.

Steve Ritter stopped selling Ash trees at his garden store several years ago. He realizes that the Emerald Ash Borer will change Burlington's landscape.

"Even if the ash borer doesn't get them, a lot of people are taking them down as a precautionary measure and planting new trees in their place," he said.

It's a tough situation for Burlington. Chadwick is finding infestation in every tree so far. That battle could wind up costing at least $1 million.

It will be a six-year plan in Burlington. That involves taking down and replanting a variety of trees. That will help history from repeating.

"You're going to lose something sooner or later," Chadwick concluded. "But if you have something that doesn't get affected by the same culprit, you're doing good,"

For Burlington tree lovers, a dreary day that's even more dismal with the Emerald Ash Borer.