City Forestry Division Still Battling Emerald Ash Borer


DES MOINES, IOWA – Wednesday, June 17, 2020 
– It is June and another round in a fight the City’s Forestry Division knows will not end well. The emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle that first showed up in northeast Iowa in 2010, is killing all untreated ash trees in Des Moines.

Shane McQuillan is the urban forestry project manager for Des Moines and said the City started treating the trees four years ago to temporarily protect against the EAB insect. The final stage of the plan is to remove all remaining ash trees including the treated trees, replacing them with a variety of mixed, native species.

“Our ash tree treatment program has kept us ahead of the problem but, inevitably, the insect is going to get every last untreated ash tree in the City at some stage,” McQuillan said. “The emerald ash borer is well established in Des Moines and it is just a matter of time.” 

McQuillan added that the City will be responsible for the cost of all ash tree removals on City-owned property. Those homeowners interested in preserving ash trees that are located on adjacent City-owned property may treat those trees at their own expense but must apply for a permit. 

“The permitting system is free and necessary for our forestry division to keep track of which City trees have been adopted and treated,” McQuillan said. 

To learn more about ash tree treatment in Des Moines, visit

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

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