EAB eradication beginsCalling it a “sickening” process, Superior Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan said city crews have begun cutting down live ash trees in the North End after emerald ash borers were found there last week.
By: Mike Creger , Superior Telegram
Calling it a “sickening” process, Superior Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan said city crews have begun cutting down live ash trees in the North End after emerald ash borers were found there last week.
“We’re still forming our plan,” Morgan said of any long-term action to fight the infestation of insects that will end up killing the ash trees it bores into within four years.
If other cities across the Midwest are an example, the entire ash tree population in Superior will likely be cut down. That’s 3,000 trees on public land, or 15 percent of the city’s trees excluding the Municipal Forest. There are plenty of ash in there as well, but there’s a nice mix of other trees as well, Morgan said, meaning the impact won’t be as devastating.
The city will chip trees with trunk diameters under 18 inches. What will be done with the wood from larger trees hasn’t been determined, Morgan said. It is being stacked in the North End until the city finds a secure storage place.
Morgan said there are 1,800 trees than can be chipped and 1,200 that are too large.
The city will concentrate on large trees first, Morgan said.
The city will also monitor ash trees on private land. Homeowners should call the city if they spot the pest.
“Make sure it’s an ash tree first,” Morgan said.
Ash were the go-to replacement tree for Midwest cities decimated by Dutch elm disease in the late 1970s and 1980s. Since then, Morgan said, cities have learned to grow a diversity of trees to lessen canopy impacts when a disease or pest strikes.
“We haven’t planted an ash in seven to eight years,” Morgan said.
Treatment of trees is likely not an option, Morgan said, because it only delays its eventual death.
The city’s tree board will meet next week and members will talk about solutions to the infestation, Morgan said.