The city of Springfield has announced they are actively taking steps to combat the impact an invasive beetle species will have on trees within the city.
The emerald ash borer, which was found in Greene County last year, is a beetle native to Asia whose larvae feed on the bark of ash trees. These larvae will kill an ash tree within a few years of infection. While preventative steps can be taken with insecticide there is no way to stop an infestation once it takes place.
“Preventive treatment is the only way we can retain ash trees in our community,” City Urban Forester Casey Kellner said in a statement. “Our strategy is to retain what we can, remove what we can’t, and restore what we’ve lost.”
The city has budgeted $75,000 for management of the ash borer in 2019 and city contractor Custom Tree Care, Inc. has ready begun removing 165 ash trees located on city right of way. The stumps will be ground and grass planted in the area. Insecticide treatment will be used on the remaining 215 ash trees.
The city is planting one tree of a different species for every ash tree that will be removed through this process. Kellner asks residents who remove ash trees from their private property to replace trees one-for-one as well.
Kellner also encouraged landowners who wish to treat their trees to do so before summer.
“To reduce the spread of the emerald ash borer, it’s recommended that ash trees be treated no later than the end of June,” Kellner explained in the news release. “If you choose to remove and dispose of a tree, it’s best to avoid doing it during the summer months, during the beetle’s flight season.”
The beetle is responsible for the death of tens of millions ash trees in North America.