Lawns, Gardens & Trees


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Emerald Ash Borer - Diversity/Replacement Trees

When we speak about financial investments, we often hear the recommendation to “diversify, diversify, diversify!” The same is easily said of the investment in our green infrastructure – the trees found in yards and communities.

Diverse tree planting
Diverse tree planting.
Many years ago, American elm was the most common tree species planted in urban areas of the Great Plains. In some areas, it was the only tree species. Then, Dutch elm disease came and wiped out the tree canopy. People searched for a new species to replace the elms, and they came up with green ash – a tall, fast-growing tree that is tough enough to handle the urban environment. Again, people relied on a single tree species and green ash was overplanted. With the approach of emerald ash borer, the importance of diversity in tree plantings cannot be overstated.

Many species of tall deciduous trees are available for conservation plantings as well as in urban areas. (Some, such as cottonwood or boxelder are probably better suited to conservation plantings.) The ND Tree Selector ( is an online tool that helps users choose tree and shrub species based on a variety of characteristics. Are you looking for something that is fast growing? Or a tree that is long-lived? Perhaps a species with pretty flowers?  The ND Tree Selector can help you find species to consider for your next planting.

And don’t forget to visit with your local professionals – city foresters, nursery owners and many others who have been planting trees for years can make recommendations about which species will do well – and those that won’t! 

Additional information about EAB is available from the ND Department of Agriculture at:  For more information about tree pests such as Dutch elm disease, gypsy moth, and others, please visit the ND Invasives website at:

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