Ash tree removal imminentThere’s good news and bad news after the discovery of emerald ash borer in Superior in August.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
There’s good news and bad news after the discovery of emerald ash borer in Superior in August.
The good news: “It didn’t appear to have any substantial effect” on Douglas County’s timber sale last week, despite a countywide quarantine on the movement of ash trees, said Jon Harris, Douglas County forestry manager.
The bad news: Superior city officials are preparing to launch the removal of about 3,000 public ash trees by 2020 in the city starting Nov. 12 in Superior’s North End.
“Citizens will know the ash trees because they will have been marked,” said City Forester Mary Morgan.
The city arborist is marking the trees fated for felling with an orange circle of paint and seasonal workers are placing doorknockers notifying residents in the area between Oakes and Hill avenues north of Belknap Street that removal is imminent.
The new doorknockers explain a treatment option for public trees that homeowners may purchase at their own expense.
“They need a permit from me so we can track which tree it is so we don’t take it, and they need to contact me by Nov. 7,” Morgan said. “We will issue that free tree permit and track that tree.”
The free permit has conditions. Residents need to use a trunk-injected pesticide and closing plug.
“That is normally what the tree services have been treating in Superior with a product called Tree-Age,” Morgan said. “It is the one researchers out of Michigan have shown to be very effective.”
Treatment, which costs about $10 per diameter inch, or $120 for one 12-inch diameter tree, is believed to protect the tree’s life for three to five years, Morgan said.
Work to remove the trees is likely to begin with bigger, older trees to protect public safety.
Dead trees pose an increased threat to property and people, particularly during high winds, heavy rain and blizzards.
The goal of the ash tree removal plan is to abate the potential for hazardous trees after the metallic-green beetle was discovered in North End last summer.
The beetle, an import from China discovered around Detroit Mich. in 2002, has killed millions of ash trees in its wake. The emerald ash borer larvae tunnel beneath the bark, cutting off the tree’s vascular system, which carries nutrients and water to the crown of the tree. Symptoms the hard-to-detect, half-inch beetle has invaded at tree include crown dieback, suckering or new growth at the base of the tree, D-shaped holes and splitting of the bark, and S-shaped tunneling under the bark.
Exactly how the plan will unfold is unknown, and work in the North End will give the city a better idea of the amount of time it will take and the interest citizens have in preserving the ash trees near their home.
From North End, Morgan said removal is likely to move to the ash-dense Zone 3 immediately south of Belknap Street, an area where some trees have already been removed after the beetle was discovered there late this summer.
City crews will be removing ash trees until weather necessitates a shift to accomplish winter season tasks such as flooding rinks, ski trail grooming and plowing streets, Morgan said.
During the process to removed nearly 3,000 public ash trees, expected to run through 2020, routine pruning of other species of public trees is likely to be suspended. Morgan said if the public observes hazardous trees, regardless of species, they should contact the city.
“We will address them,” Morgan said. “The potential public safety matter is a priority.”
A public meeting to address emerald ash borer and the city’s removal plan begins at 6 p.m. Nov. 18 in Room 201 of the Government Center.
The format will include a presentation about emerald ash borer and the city’s adopted plan to address it. Hosted by the Superior Tree Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension, Horticultural Educator Jane Anklam of UW-Extension answers homeowners’ questions concerning ash trees on private property.
Information will be on hand about programs that allow citizens to help with replanting. The city’s plan only allows 1,400 new trees to be planted to replace the lost ash trees.
The goal is to hold a meeting at the start of the take, and another next spring when people’s thoughts return to trees, Morgan said.
Call 715-395-7270 for a permit or information.