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May 11, 2018 05:02 PM

'Guaranteed Ash Trees Will Die If Left Untreated'

The emerald ash borer has the potential of doing widespread damage all across the city of Sioux Falls.  

If the ash trees in your neighborhood go untreated, have you stopped to think what your block could look like in the coming years? 

It's estimated that 40 percent of all trees in Sioux Falls are ash; that's equal to 87,000 trees.  They are really quite common in older neighborhoods, like McKennan Park. 

"Ash, ash, ash, ash, ash  I'm just standing here in one spot and haven't moved," arborist Jason Bofenkamp said.  

You get the picture.  Ash trees are everywhere in the McKennan Park neighborhood.  The park itself is one of the crown jewels of the city; known for it's beautiful landscaping and tall trees.  Many of these tall trees are Ash.  

But in a few years from now it could look much more bleak.
Don Jorgensen: So if they don't treat them, it's almost a guarantee they're going to die?
Bofenkamp:  It is a guarantee they are going to die. 

Bofenkamp is the arborist who first discovered the ash borer in Sioux Falls.  He was pruning trees in the northern part of the city over the weekend when he made the startling discovery. 

Now he says Sioux Falls needs to make a decision.  Either save what they can or let them die. 

"I'd love for the city to do what they can to preserve and prevent the ash borer from taking them down," Jessie Halverson said. 

Jessie Halverson and her husband moved into the neighborhood three years ago. 

"It would be really sad part of the reason we like this neighborhood a lot is because of all the trees and shade and it's a little less windy with all the trees, but that would be really sad," Halverson said. 

"The good news is it's not a death sentence, we can control that we can limit the spread if people choose to do something about it," Bofenkamp said. 

Bofenkamp says the best way to treat an ash tree is to hire a licensed arborist. Click here for a list. 

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