July 23 2018 07:43 PM

The trees were under attack from the invasive Emerald Ash Borer.

Emerald ash borer

The inexorable march of the Emerald Ash Borer has reached Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Now, it's a race against time to save the area’s ash trees, including the ones that grace an old cemetery.

St. Michael Catholic Cemetery stretches 40 acres and includes 150 ash trees. Now, thanks to help from Arborjet, a manufacturer of injectable tree insecticide and fungicide products, 50 of the cemetery’s trees were treated free of charge, according to a story published on KELO-TV’s website. The company donated time and supplies to help fight the invasive pest.

"We actually seal the material that we're injecting into the tree, it moves about the canopy of the tree and protects the tree from the Emerald Ash Borer for two full years," says Jeff Palmer, Midwest technical manager for Arborjet.

"This cemetery has been here for 138 years and going to continue to be here forever and so want it to look nice and be a beautiful spot for the families when they come to visit," executive director of St. Michael Catholic Cemetery, Dan Johnson said.

The company wants to help the cemetery, and also raise awareness of the pest, and how to fight it, in the community. "The Emerald Ash Borer is feeding all summer long inside that tree and so the sooner you treat the tree, the fewer bugs you're going to have in the tree next year," Palmer said.

"We thought it would be a good site for folks to learn about the problem and also to learn what the implications are if all these trees were gone," Palmer said.

"The big thing is we're making sure we're getting the trees that should be treated, treated," Johnson said.

As for the other 100 ash trees, Johnson says they will evaluate them and decide whether to have them treated or removed.