Council approves free disposal of ash trees damaged by emerald ash borer on private property

Published 5:56 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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The Albert Lea City Council voted Monday on a plan for treatment and disposal of ash trees on private properties in the city.

The emerald ash borer was confirmed in several areas of Albert Lea earlier this year, said City Manager Ian Rigg. With 12,000 ash trees in the city, the insect will have a significant impact on the community.

The city has worked for the last two years to set up its plan of response to the insect after it was confirmed in Freeborn County. For trees on city property, it has implemented a plan of treating the best-quality ash trees and replacing those in poor condition out of an effort to maintain the city’s tree canopy and prevent ash trees from becoming safety hazards.

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On private property, the council voted Monday to waive the fee for disposal of dying or dead ash trees for property owners who have to take them down, and there will be a designated spot for both logs and brush at the Transfer Station.

Property owners must provide their name, address, phone number and driver’s license when disposing of trees.

No contractors or property owners from outside the city will be able to utilize the free disposal.

The city is also working with Maier Tree and Lawn Care Co. of Rochester, which will offer residents treatment of trees on private property for the same price as city trees, which is $8 per inch diameter for trees at breast height for residents who contact the company by the end of July. At the last meeting, city officials estimated cost would equate to less than $200 for most trees.

If residents want to use a different company, the city has a list of licensed arborists to choose from at

Rigg said treatments should last two to three years, after which the treatment would need to be done again until the emerald ash borer is eradicated or moves from the area.