Ash Tree Treatment in Des Moines

The Emerald Ash Borer Situation:

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is killing all untreated ash trees.
Due to the ongoing environmental damage and loss of ash trees to this invasive insect, the City of Des Moines has developed a plan where all ash trees on the right-of-way and in City parks, will be either treated or removed in the next five years. The City will be responsible for the cost of all removals so residents who are interested in preserving ash trees that are located on city right-of-way or in parks, at their own expense, may treat those trees but must follow a permit system. The permitting system is free and necessary for the Public Works Forestry Division to keep track of which city trees have been adopted and thus treated.

How You Can Help:

How to Adopt a Tree:

  1. If there is an ash tree located on city right-of-way near you, and you would like to treat it against emerald ash borer, either complete the required paperwork by Submitting an Application below OR by printing, completing and returning the form to the City of Des Moines Public Works Forestry Division. Forms may be taken (or mailed) to the Public Works Department @ 216 SE 5th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309.
  2. The Forestry Division, or a designated representative, will then contact you so they can visit to evaluate the condition of the ash tree to determine if it is healthy enough to be saved. You will be notified whatever the outcome.
  3. If the ash tree is in good condition, the link below lists qualified contractors who can provide the injection treatment.
  4. The only chemical approved by the City is emamectin benzoate. It is applied through a trunk injection and is 99.9% effective. 
  5. The applicant must then coordinate with the contractor and pay for the treatment of the tree. This is not a rebate program. The City will not pay for treatment, but is making allowance for adjacent property owners to extend the life of the tree with treatment if they so desire. 
  6. The contractor is responsible for informing the City of treatment to the tree identified for the duration of the treatment. The permitting process simply allows the City to create a database of treated trees so that those trees are not cut down. There is no cost to obtain a permit. However, the cost of treatment belongs to the resident contracting the service. 

Important Information:

The injection treatment for ash trees located on city right-of-way must be done once every two years. Typical costs are $10 per trunk inch diameter. (Example: $150 per treatment for a 15 inch tree). The City has determined that injection is the most environmentally-friendly way to treat a healthy ash tree against emerald ash borer. The City will not permit publicly owned trees to be treated with soil injections or soil drenching, so as  to reduce the potential of chemical runoff and ground water contamination. Only trunk injections will be permitted. Treatment is not always a guarantee that a tree will survive EAB. For ash trees located on private property, residents and business owners may treat their trees however they wish, though City staff recommends trunk injections over drenches and sprays due to environmental concerns. The licensed applicator contracted by a resident is responsible to know and follow all applicable State rules and regulations for the application of any and all chemicals.


How do I know if the right of way tree is an ash tree?

Why would I treat the city owned ash tree?

How long does emamectin benzoate last?

Where can I find someone to treat the city tree outside my residence?