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The invasive species, the Emerald Ash Borer, made its way to eastern Iowa three years ago destroying ash trees.

Now communities in the metro are preparing for the pests arrival by cutting down trees in advance.

The City of Johnston has more than 2,000 ash trees. Johnston’s park and recreation director, John Schmitz, says when the beetles attack, it could devastate the entire community.

“It’s not if it’s when, we feel Johnston is one of those target areas because of Saylorville, the fastest way for Emerald Ash Borers to travel is through firewood and other wood products,” says Schmitz.

The Emerald Ash Borer has not made its way to central Iowa yet, but experts predict they could be here within the next 5 years.

The pest kills ash trees by burrowing under the bark and eating the layers of the tree.

To lessen the impact when the bugs arrive, the City of Johnston will chop down 60 trees in poor condition.

The City will plant several different types of trees instead. Arborist, john Griffiths, says tree diversity is important.

“What everyone needs to remember when planting trees is diversity. I tell clients all the time if I’m going to have five trees on your property you should have five totally different species.”

Next month the City will begin cutting down the trees. The project will cost $75,000.

The Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Des Moines, Jefferson and Allamakee counties.