Emerald ash borer causing thousands in damage in Albert Lea

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(ABC 6 News) – It may be smaller than a penny, but is causing major damage in Albert Lea.

Officials in Albert Lea say emerald ash borer will cost the city nearly 8 hundred thousand dollars over the next 20 years in treating and replacing ash trees.

There are about 12 thousand ash trees in total across the city.

If not treated, the beetle will kill all of them. just removing as many as possible.

The tree loss could also impact property values, quality of life, and human and environmental health. City staff say they have a plan.

“We’re working more to preserve some of the better quality trees as to just removing as many as possible there. It enhances the quality of life for people in Albert Lea, our parks have a lot of ash trees, our boulevards have a lot of ash trees. A third of the population that the city owns is actually ash trees, that’s a big number,” Senior Park Maintenance and Arborist, Ben Bangert said.

The city is getting a 100 thousand dollar grant from the minnesota dnr to help treat the ash tress. Their plan is to save the best and treat the rest.

“The value of these trees is something people don’t realize as far as holding the ground shade to prolong the life of our streets and cost of air conditioning things like that these trees are worth a lot more than what people think,” Asst. Director of Public Works, Ryan Hajek said.