There Go the Trees

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2014 at 7:17pm.

It has already struck in Shoreview – in fact, officials there confirm that there’s a nasty emerald ash borer infestation. Blaine officials, according to the Star Tribune’s Shannon Prather, will be making a pre-emptive strike against the pest by cutting down and replacing our local ash trees.

They’ll be removing about 75 trees from Blaine’s streets and parks this spring and, over the next decade, plan to remove up to 7,000. I didn’t even know we had that many ash trees in Blaine.

So, why not just wait for an infestation and then kill the bugs? Apparently, because the trees are so inexpensive our local developers planted loads of them and treating all of them with the chemicals required to prevent an emerald ash borer infestation would be too costly.

The emerald ash borer -- a type of beetle -- came to this country from China and was first discovered about a decade ago in Ohio. Scientists knew nothing about the beetle at the time but have learned a lot since then. The shiny green bug burrows into the tree’s bark, disrupting its vascular system so that nutrients can’t reach the canopy.

They move from county-to-county in several ways. First, they’re very strong flyers and are known to fly several miles to get to a new tree. They are also brought in when folks move firewood from one location to another.

Replanting will take place in fall and if you don’t want a new tree planted at the street in front of your house, just say so. According to Prather, about half of homeowners decline them. Oh, and no, you don’t get to state your tree preference if you opt for a replacement. They’ll be randomly planting 10 to 12 species of trees.

There ya go -- now you won’t have to ask “What’s that noise?” when the chain saws start buzzing come spring.

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