Tree services bombarded with business as they look to save ash trees

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Sioux Falls, S.D. - Concerns over the Emerald Ash Borer continue as it threatens the existence of hundreds of thousands of trees in South Dakota. Tree and lawn care experts are being bombarded with business as they work to save thousands of ash trees

“It seems ridiculous for us to cut them down when I know that they are treatable,” Sioux Falls Resident Jessica Miller said.

Throw a rock anywhere in Sioux Falls and you'll probably hit an ash tree. With 85,000 ash trees in the city, the Parks and Recreation department said the trees are very common.

“At this point we know already we have way too many ash trees in Sioux Falls regardless if the Emerald Ash Borer was in Sioux Falls or not,” Sioux Falls Parks Operations Manager, Kelby Mieras said.

To deal with the infestation the city of Sioux Falls plans to remove trees next year instead of treating them.

“Our target is about 3,800 trees both on public property, parks, and other public property and also street trees,” Mieras said.

“It’s definitely concerning that people want to cut down their ash trees,” Miller said.

Jessica Miller treated the ash trees in her yard right away.

“We actually had to wait for the guys to get certification. We were one of the first customers to receive the ash borer treatment,” Miller said.

One of those business that treats ash trees in Sioux Falls is Arbor Pros ATS Tree Service. They even started their own division called Borer Busters and hired a specialist to handle the growing work load.

“Basically you just inject the tree with a chemical that kind of follows the bark up to the top of the tree and the bugs get infected with it and die. Pretty much guaranteed to kill all the bugs in your tree if there is any,” Arbor Pros ATS Tree Service Owner, Tony Johnson said.

Johnson said he's seeing a lot of people choosing to treat their trees even though it may cost more.

“I have two trees in my yard and I would hate to lose them. I treated them and the chemicals are expensive, but I did it just so I don’t lose that shade. The value of a tree isn’t worth what it costs to cut down, but what it provides for you,” Johnson said.

“It is always better to fix something than to get something brand new because it takes a lot time for trees to grow,” Miller said.

After pulling out the syringe, it’ll take 48 hours for the treatment to work its way to the top.

Once the 3,800 trees are removed, the city has not ruled out treating the remaining trees in the coming years. It will all depend on how the infestation spreads.