The Herald Bulletin

November 7, 2013

Editorial: City needed to attack ash borer problem

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The emerald ash borer is a sneaky creature.

Alone, it nibbles on the leaves of ash trees and doesn’t cause great damage. But then it leaves larvae in the inner bark of the trees. And that deposit leads to the inability of water and nutrients to get through the tree.

The pest was discovered in 2002 outside Detroit. By 2004, it was in Indiana and as of this year, has been seen in Colorado. Some spots, including Indiana, have issued countywide quarantines which prohibits items from moving outside of an area. Sawmills, for example, can’t transport wood.

The ash borer has killed millions of ash trees, The bug costs property owners who have to remove dead trees and adversely affects the forest and nursery industries.

The country can blame Detroit all it wants but the beetle is certainly in Madison County and we have to take matters into our own hands. Recently, the city of Anderson did so.

The damage done by the ash borer costs municipalities, too. So city crews cut down ash trees affected by the pest. The most visible spot was along the Thomas R. McMahan Riverwalk area. From a distance, the trees looked perfectly fine. But up close they were infested.

The city has pledged to replace the trees that were removed. We’ll see tulip and sycamore trees spring up.

It’s always sad to see long-standing trees cut down but stopping the infestation is more important.

If homeowners can take the same precautions, then the spread can be slowed even further. Generally, the choice is to remove and replace but treatment is available. The city recommends the product Treeage if an ash tree is seriously infested but it can only be applied by a licensed applicator. The removal of trees is costly. But so is the cost of losing trees to the beetle.

For now, it is in the city’s best interest to remove the trees it can from public property. Residents can then look forward to attractive trees — free from the ash borer — rising in their place.

In summary City properly attacked the emerald ash borer problem by removing trees and promising to replace them.