Arborists take interest in Fairfield’s trees
Officials from Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, USDA Forest Service USDA Plant Protection Quarantine, and municipal foresters were among a group of specialists surveying the health of trees in Chautauqua Park with Fairfield Park Superintendent Pam Craff today.
The specialists were here as part of the 2013 Forest Health Tour sponsored by the Iowa DNR.
Last summer, the leaves on red and white oak trees in Chautauqua Park started to wilt and within a few weeks, the trees were dead and neighboring trees began to show signs of distress, as well. Craff sent samples of the afflicted trees to the Iowa State University plant diagnostic clinic; the tests came back positive for oak wilt. As a result, 50 trees had to be cut down in the park to prevent the spread of the disease.
Today, specialists were studying trees in the park to determine what caused the trees to become ill, why trenching efforts were unsuccessful in the spread of the illness and what can be done to prevent additional tree loss in Chautauqua Park and in other parks and forest land across the state.
Craff invited the team to tour the park, anxious to do everything possible to protect the future of the park’s mighty oaks.
More than 8 percent (3.0 million acres) of Iowa is covered by trees and forests. The forests have significant impacts on Iowa’s agricultural-based economy and protection of the state’s drinking water supply.
Because forest resources are valuable to the citizens of Iowa, the Bureau of Forestry began monitoring forest and tree health conditions in the late 1970s. This monitoring effort today is used to determine overall forest and tree health conditions, the status of natural and exotic insect, disease, and invasive species problems, and to provide up-to-date information for private and public managers to aid in the sustained management of Iowa’s forest resources.