Fairbank City Council approved a round of emerald ash borer treatment for half its public trees this year as it is staggering application of the insecticide; ash trees at West Bentley Park, pictured, are among those being treated this year.


FAIRBANK — Fairbank will avoid paying a higher rate this year for emerald ash borer treatment. TruGreen representative John Atkinson from Cedar Rapids proposed $1 less than the increased price from the city’s prior contractor.

“I told him I was not looking for a bid, but our (prior company’s) price had gone up,” Public Works Director Dave Ryan said. “His price is the same.”

The pesticide injection treatment from ArborJet Inc. is called TREE-äge (emamectin benzoate) and will cost $7 per “DBH” inch, which stands for diameter measured at breast height (taken at four and a half feet).

Half the ash trees on city property are treated yearly, for a total refresh every two years. This year, 34 healthy ash trees will be treated. An assessment showed 13 ash trees for Island Park, 16 at West Bentley Park — and five in Riverside Park will be added to the treatment plan.

On observation, none of the ash trees at Riverside Park showed evidence of having been injected or treated. Atkinson proposed treating them.

“For the five trees in Riverside Park it would be like $72,” Atkinson told the council.

“They weren’t part of the plan,” Ryan said, “Kind of like the ball diamond, (there’s) not much for ash trees. But Riverside is a pretty nice park and pretty well trafficked.”

Treatment can occur as soon as the leaves are out and sap is flowing, Atkinson said, citing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The treatment will be ongoing until the emerald ash borer runs out of food or ceases to exist, council heard.

Parks still shuttered

The council took no action on reopening city park equipment and restrooms, which cannot be reliably cleaned often enough to be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic at current staff levels and will remain closed.