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AGRIBUSINESS: Infested Town Plans Ahead

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With I-80 nearby, a campground, and a railroad running through the town, confirmation in March that the Emerald Ash Borer had infested the town of Newton in Jasper County was not much of a surprise.

That's according to city administrative park superintendent Nathan Unsworth. Last night he led a public meeting along with Iowa DNR and ISU Extension officials informing Newton citizens of Ash tree management options.

Last year Unsworth began to suspect the insect's presence when he took note of the deteriorating health of city Ash trees.

He says, "How we found out in Newton was actually from citizens noticing signs in their own tree. And that was the woodpecker activity going after the larva stage of the emerald ash borer. I had a couple people call me up and ask, would you come over and look at it? Definitely saw those signs and contacted USDA and Iowa DNR and they came in and confirmed it for us after we initially dropped the branch and found the larva ourselves."

Now the city of Newton has adopted a two-pronged strategy of facing off against the Emerald Ash Borer.

Unsworth says, "We are right now kind of prioritizing removal, we're looking at all the trees, we know we have 300 trees on city property alone obviously we're helping educate the public a lot of these trees are on private property and they will be responsible for the treatment and or removal of those trees eventually."

If you are interested in learning more about Ash management, check out ISU extension's website.