Tina Folch represents Ward 1 on the Hastings City Council.

With Arbor Day having just occurred on April 27th, I would like to remind residents that our ash trees are at great risk with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect spreading in the community. Approximately 25 percent of the trees in Hastings are ash trees. They are all at risk of dying in the next several years by this infestation unless proactive steps are taken to treat the trees with an insecticide.

Hastings currently has over 1,000 ash trees on street boulevards alone. EAB has been known to be spreading within the community the past three years, first appearing along the railroad tracks in the downtown area. It has spread through the Ward 1 neighborhoods around Lake Isabel and will be making its way across town at a quickening pace. The City is treating a limited number of ash trees on public property. Residents will be responsible for trees in the boulevards and on private lands. The insecticide used to kill EAB is guaranteed to be effective for two years and then would require reapplication of the treatment.

Residents will have the opportunity to take advantage of the City's contract prices with Rainbow Treecare of $6.25 per inch to treat ash trees on their property and in the boulevards. Residents will be responsible for the full cost of these private treatments.  Unfortunately, these infected trees become brittle as they die and a safety hazard to those around them. The average cost to remove an infected tree by a tree service is $1,000.

Residents interested in scheduling a treatment for ash trees may contact Rainbow Treecare at (952) 922-3810 for obtaining a quote and scheduling. The contract prices are valid through 2018. During 2017, over 400 trees were treated by residents through this offer.

A reminder to residents, removal of trees within boulevard spaces must be authorized by the City Forester, and the removal must be done through a licensed tree removal service. For more information on the EAB in Hastings, please visit www.hastingsmn.gov/residents/forestry/emerald-ash-borer.