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Cities weigh options, costs of fighting ash borer

MADISON, WI (AP) - A decade ago, foresters feared an invasive Chinese beetle would spell doom for American ash trees.

But a counter-punch to the emerald ash borer emerged in the form of a powerful pesticide that inoculates the trees. Milwaukee officials say they've been treating public ash trees with it for four years and haven't lost one yet.

But treating trees is an ongoing expense, and many cities are strapped for cash.

Municipalities on the edge of the ash borers' territory face a choice -- remove all their ash trees or commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to ongoing treatment.

Deb McCullogh is a Michigan State University forest entomology professor. She says there's no reason a city should lose a single ash tree if someone is willing to spend the money.

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