Crews turn ash trees into wood chips - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Crews turn ash trees into wood chips

Emerald Ash Borer Emerald Ash Borer

LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The City of La Crosse is working with contractors to remove almost 900 trees from city parks to prevent the spread of the ash borer.

 It infests trees and eventually kills them by interrupting their supply of nutrients.

Over the last couple weeks over a hundred trees have been cut down at Forest Hills Golf Course.

Thursday, crews started bringing those trees to the chipper.

"They're a lot easier to deal with when they're alive," Jeff Wiedman, Today's Tree Service Owner said. "The potential of having exponential problems when they all die at one time it, would a lot harder to deal with when everyone has the same problem."

The city is working ahead of the Emerald Ash Borer so they don't lose everything ash trees have to offer.

"Once they're infested with a beetle we cannot sell the material," Gar Amunson, Parks Superintendent said. "It would have to be debarked; the cost of it would sky rocket way over and above what it is right now."

Normally it costs $300 to $500 to have a tree removed. But, the City of La Crosse is paying $85 per tree because the contractor was able to sell all of these wood chips. So once the back of their trucks are full they drive over to West Copeland to leave the wood chips for Xcel Energy to pick up.

"I think there are 7-8 loads per day in contract to be burnt with rubbish to produce electricity for the area," Amunson said.

The city didn't think it was worth gambling with these trees.  EAB is definitely here and will continue to multiply.

"It's just about guaranteed by the DNR that every ash tree will die with in the next seven years," Amunson said.

Giving these trees another purpose now is better than letting them waste away later the city said.

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