The Ottumwa Courier

May 2, 2014

Volunteers sought to plant trees in Fairfield

By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — FAIRFIELD — Spring is the perfect time to get out and plant trees, especially when a significant number of them are in danger.

In Fairfield, the Emerald Ash Borer was positively identified in several ash trees in August 2013. Since then, according to Scott Timm of the Jefferson County Iowa State University Extension Office, a committee that was at one time decommissioned by the city is now back running, and they are busy trying to combat the damage left by EAB.

“The committee has determined that our focus needs to be on planting and education,” Timm said.

The EAB is very damaging to ash trees, and Timm said all of the 280 ash trees in Fairfield’s rights of way and parks will either have to be removed or treated, which could be very costly in the long run.

To help with the eventual loss of trees, the committee and volunteers on Friday started going to several of the parks in the city to start replanting trees. They will also be working the rest of the weekend in the downtown square, where Timm said most of the big trees will have to be removed eventually because they are ash, and they will also be hitting the rest of the city’s parks.

He said they will be educating people about EAB and what trees to plant to make up for the eventual loss of ash trees. The main thing he wants people to focus on is not planting just one kind of tree, but to add diversity just in case another problem like EAB comes up with another species of trees.

“We are encouraging people to plant different kinds of trees because you never know what is going to happen next,” Timm said.

The committee will be planting all different kinds of trees, and Timm said they will not have more than 10 percent of one species planted in a given area to try and add some diversity.

Mainly, the committee is focusing on encouraging people to get out in the nice spring weather to plant as many different trees as they can.

“The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago,” Timm said.

Anyone who wants more information about EAB, what trees to plant or to help with tree planting around Fairfield should contact ISU Extension. Timm also said his phone, 515-291-2560, and email, stimm@iastate.edu, are available for anyone with questions.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh