I am sure many of you have read the articles in the newspaper about Emerald Ash Borer and how it is now in the state of Iowa. It is true, it is in Alamakee County and headed west. When will it reach Polk and Dallas Counties? No one knows but now is the time to plan for the future because it will be coming.
In this article I am also going to talk about a pest that is already here and one that can be devastating to landscape plants, gardens and trees and one you need to be fully aware of, otherwise you will be looking at skeleton plants in your landscape. That pest is the Japanese Beetle
First the Emerald Ash Borer and what you need to know. There are numerous insects that already effect ash trees in Iowa and do some damage to trees, but they are not as devastating as the EAB. The picture that I have below shows other insects in Iowa and you will notice that they all have a green or emerald appearance and can be easily confused with the EAB. If you have these there is no need to panic, they are naturally occurring and most of them are usually controlled by Mother Nature. However you will notice the EAB in the upper left hand corner. If you have something that you think could be this little devil, collect it, put it in a small container and get it to someone who can help to identify it.
Here is the link to the Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Plan for the State of Iowa. http://www.emeraldashborer.info/files/IA_EAB_Readiness_Plan.pdf
We have had many questions as to what we are doing at DMGCC to prepare for EAB and it’s arrival. 2 years ago the Golf, Green and Grounds Committee surveyed all of the ash trees on the property. They determined that there are 65 critical ash trees that they felt needed to be protected on the golf courses. For the upcoming 2011 golf season we will be budgeting money to treat these critical trees to protect them against insect invasions. Also we are working on developing a tree replacement plan to under plant some of our ash tree areas
Now the Japanese Beetle and what you need to know now. Japanese Beetle is also in the photo above. This pest has been in Eastern Iowa for the last 5-7 years and it has been a true pest for gardens, trees and landscapes. I have included a link the USDA has put out about the Japanese Beetle. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/pub_phjbeetle04.pdf
Last year I noticed several landscape plants and trees in the Des Moines area being affected by these pests. The first thing you need to remember is to look up! The infestation takes place at the top of the tree and they work down from there. So on your lindens, flowering crabs, and elms look up. If you see the leaves have a skeleton look and you see insects flying around, you more than likely are starting to see the start of an infestation.
Good news is the pest is very easily controlled. There are many insecticides out there that offer good control of them once you have them. Also there are some biological controls that can do the same thing. If your plants get damage by Japanese Beetle more than likely they will survive and leaf out again next year, but remember this pest is around for a long time and you will have ongoing problems once you get them.
If you have questions, concerns ask an expert. It is better to be safe than to lose your valuable trees or shrubs.
I do have some samples of EAB in my office and can help you if you think you need to id a possible infestation.