Monday, August 16, 2010

The Red Ring Of Doom (at least for your Ash Tree)

The Emerald Ash Borer has been a hot topic, especially lately in the Mac - Groveland and Highland Park neighborhoods.  In fact the week of July 22nd the residents noticed a red stripe around nearly every tree on the boulevard, indicating that the trees would be removed.  The city in an effort to save money and reduce street closures, planned to remove the trees while repaving the streets.  Unfortunately most of the residents had no idea that their source of shade and enjoyment was going away so soon.  They were noted as saying if they had just received a notice they may have not been so upset.  This was in addition to the 181 ash trees awaiting removal this month, along Hamline between Randolph and Highland Parkway; on Watson Ave on the east side of the St. Paul Academy; on Worcester Ave. between Morgan and St. Paul Ave; and on Montreal Ave between Fairview and St. Paul Ave.  In all there will be approximately 1,100 ash trees removed and replanted.

Thanks to a $722,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture plus $250,000 from the city to it will be a start on the 35,000 total ashes that the city has on it's boulevards, which pales in comparison to the estimated 150,000 ash trees in the city of St. Paul.  The current program to remove 1,100 ash trees started in January and is scheduled to be completed early 2011.

According to the USDA Forest Service, Emerald Ash Borers have:

 Killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The residents have asked about a possible treatment for the trees, however the issue becomes cost.  Requiring a yearly treatment, 150,000+ trees would be extremely expensive.  When residents asked about treating their own trees the Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm responded by saying, he would be uncomfortable with the possible environmental consequences of having residents treating their own trees.

So what can you do?  Well unfortunately we may not have a ton of options however the next community meeting is scheduled for Thursday August 26th at 6.30pm.  The meeting will be held at the Palace Recreation Center, targeted for residents of Ward 2 but open to all St. Paul residents.  There will also be a brief presentation by Forestry staff, and also plenty of time for questions.

For more information and a schedule of tree removal from the city you can visit their website here.


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