For immediate release
May 10, 2024
Media Contact: Assistant Public Works Director Ryan Hajek at 507-377-4377 or [email protected]

Emerald ash borer confirmed in Albert Lea

City urges residents to have trees assessed

The City of Albert Lea urges residents to have their ash trees assessed for emerald ash borer damage after the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed this destructive insect in many areas of the community this spring.

Emerald ash borers kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Trees become brittle and can topple over, posing a risk to people and property.

“Residents should hire a certified arborist to look at their ash trees to decide whether to treat them or take them down. In short, save the best and replace the rest,” said Ryan Hajek, assistant public works director for Albert Lea.

The City of Albert Lea has prepared the past two years for this infestation, implementing a plan to treat the best-quality ash trees on city property and replace those in poor condition with a diversity of species. City staff will present a plan at Monday’s city council meeting to dispose of wood from ash trees taken down by property owners.

“With 12,000 ash trees in Albert Lea, the damage will dramatically increase over the next few years. We want to prevent a wall of wood from hitting the community,” Hajek said.

The Albert Lea City Council recently accepted the lowest bid from Maier Tree and Lawn of Rochester for treating ash trees on city property. Maier Tree and Lawn will also offer the bid price of $8 per inch of diameter at breast height (4.5 feet from the ground) to property owners in Albert Lea. For example, a tree 22 inches in diameter at breast height would cost $176 per treatment. Residents need to contact the firm by the end of July for the bid price.

Treatments are also available from licensed tree professionals in Albert Lea.

For the list of tree professionals, including Maier, go to

Trees need to be treated every 2-3 years. The cost over several years can be less than the cost of removing the tree.

“By treating trees, residents can retain their many benefits like shade and habitat. It also gives you time to plant a tree and let it grow until you take down the ash tree,” Hajek said.

How to spot emerald ash borer damage:

    • Confirm it’s an ash tree. Ash trees have opposite branching – meaning branches grow from the trunk directly across from each other. On older trees, the bark is in a tight, diamond-shaped pattern. Younger trees have a relatively smooth bark.
    • Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like borer larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of the invasive insect.
    • Check for bark cracks. The larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval (S-shaped) tunnels underneath.


For more information, visit the city website: