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City selects vendor in fight against emerald ash borer

When an ash trees receives the EAB treatment a number of spigots are inserted to the tree.

In an effort to assist residents in the fight against Emerald Ash Borer, the city of Hastings approved Rainbow Treecare (RTC) as the preferred vendor for treating ash trees.

By identifying RTC as the preferred vendor, Hastings residents will pay $3.25-$6.25 less per diameter inch for the treatments.

Although RTC is the preferred vendor, Hastings Parks and Recreation Director Chris Jenkins said residents can still look elsewhere.

"They are not exclusive, so anybody in town is welcome to touch base with any tree care provider they want to work with," Jenkins said.

Paul Mahoney, city forester, is pictured at an ash tree that is receiving treatment of the insecticide "Triage G4."

According to the city, RTC was chosen based on four criteria: cost, data collection, experience and staff. The company also has a dedicated GPS/GIS specialist who will provide important data to the city that will help the city track the ash trees in the community. Jenkins said that the city doesn't have inventory data on private trees, but those trees are a big component of the urban forestry.

"It just provides us with some data we can use to help make future decisions as far as the urban forest goes," Jenkins said.

RTC has more than 13 years of experience successfully treating ash trees for EAB. They treated more than 8,000 trees in 2016. Finally, the staff at RTC includes more than 40 certified Arborists, 16 certified pesticide applicators and a director of municipal consulting on staff and available to Hastings residents.

PREVIOUSLY: Council supports boulevard tree maintenance recommendations to fight EAB

The city began discussions about treatment of ash trees when EAB was confirmed in Hastings last year. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of EAB in two separate instances.

A resident riding a bicycle on the trails near Lock and Dam Road found an adult EAB that had landed on his person. In the second instance, a resident of east Hastings contacted the MNDA to inspect five ash trees located on private property. The trees were examined and confirmed to have EAB.

Emerald Ash Borer is an insect that attacks and kills all species of ash trees that grow in Minnesota. It is a beetle that is green in color and less than 1/2 inch in size. It lays eggs underneath the bark and as the eggs develop in larvae they feed on the cambium underneath the bark denying the tree the nutrients it needs to survive. The tree eventually dies over a two to three year period.

Jenkins said that the parks department would encourage people to keep their trees healthy and maintain them. A city ordinance states that the property owner of trees located within a public right of way are responsible for the care and maintenance of the boulevard trees. The maintenance includes preventative care. If tree health issues are discovered, the affected property owner will be contacted and provided with information and options. If tree removal is necessary, and proper maintenance has been conducted, the city will share in the cost of the removal of the diseased or hazardous tree. The share cost will be 60 percent covered by the property owner and 40 percent by the city. It is limited to only the cost of tree removal.

Paul Mahoney, city forester, said that trees are a huge benefit to the value of property and to the cost of cooling a house in the summer. Mahoney said that if residents would like him to examine their trees, he is willing to do that as time allows. He is also willing to answer any questions. Mahoney is available at 651-480-6177 or pmahoney@hastingsmn.gov.

There are 500 mature ash trees that reside in public parks. Jenkins said that the trees in the parks will be treated for ash trees as time and budget allow. The parks department plans to treat about 150 trees this season.

Additional resources and information can be found on the city website at www.hastingsmn.gov/residents/forestry or www.rainbowtreecare.com/hastings.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

(651) 319-4503
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