What The Emerald Ash Borer—And An Ash Tree—Can Mean

Emerald Ash Borer
KELO Emerald Ash Borer

By now, you no doubt probably know: the emerald ash borer is in KELOLAND. Many people will have to make decisions about what to do with their ash trees. Now that the emerald ash borer is here, an untreated ash tree will eventually be a dead ash tree.

For Jim Knutson of Sioux Falls, a green ash tree in his yard isn’t just any old tree. He planted it by hand, by himself- giving the tree an extra place in the family. 

“I wanted to protect it, try to save my tree,” Knutson said. “I planted the tree in 1966, so it’s a part of my life.” 

Matthew Schumacher’s business, First Dakota Horticulture, treated Knutson’s tree. 

“A series of injections around the base of the tree, and with a measured amount of insecticide, and it’s, we drill holes in the base of the tree, put a capsule in the base, and then inject a needle into it, and it’s under air pressure, we deliver the chemical into the tree,” Schumacher said.

The arrival of the emerald ash borer has affected First Dakota Horticulture.

“It made us do some adjustments within house,” Schumacher said. “We had to adjust as far as having salesmen on the ground to measure ash trees and give bids to people to try to protect their trees. It’s made us adjust some applicators that we have to go into different areas to help us to take care of the injections that we’re providing for folks.” 

This tree illustrates a point, Schumacher says.

“Planted about the same time the house was built, it’s a fantastic story…this shows you the value of a tree, and how important it is to them,” Schumacher said.

“It’s just been here forever. It’s a home for half a dozen squirrels and birds, and it’s just part of the area,” Knutson said.

Knutson takes time to feed squirrels.

Dan Santella: What do you feed them?

“Peanuts and sunflower seeds,” Knutson said.

Dan Santella: “Year round?” 

“No, just in the fall and the winter,” Knutson said. “They can hustle for themselves in the summertime. And they do.”

Knutson says treatment for his tree was worth it.

“Oh sure, it’s a price,” Knutson said. “But the tree’s worth more than the price of treating it, to me anyway.”

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