LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The city of La Crosse is continuing the removal of Ash trees, with the removal of the trees on public boulevards.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle that infects and kills all species of Ash trees. It spreads quickly and cases have been reported throughout the area, including in the city of La Crosse. So the city complied an Emerald Ash Borer management plan. It's five phases and ultimately calls for the removal of most ash trees on public land.
"We've been working on it based on homeowners request, if there's a broken limb we've been working on it all through this last year, but now we're really starting to strategically remove them," said Cinthia Johnson the city's forestry coordinator.
Areas where the trees will be removed are marked with signs. According to the city's ash borer management plan, the 2014 capital investment budget calls for $165,000.00 for the removal of ash trees. An option far cheaper than treating each ash tree every year.
"Budget-wise treatment is not an option," Johnson said. "We are trying to look at the long term. Emerald ash borer might never leave our community. We have to be very aware of a long-term solution to this problem."
But if residents want to pay to treat an ash tree along their street they can. Tom Ziega of Z's lawn and landscaping says the cost is based on the size of the tree but on average its between $75 and $100. He says it's best to treat the trees once a year in the spring or fall. The most common method is to drench the base of the tree with an insecticide specially meant to kill ash borers.
"Just like when you get a shot for a vaccination, it goes throughout your whole body, this is the same way with the tree," Ziega said. "The insecticide is taken up though the capillary system and goes in to the leaves, the twigs, the branches so when the EAB borrows in to it, it hits the insecticide and dies."
The treatments aren't just for already infected trees. Now that the beetle is in the area all trees are at risk.
"If you don't' treat, the ash borer will get your ash tree," Ziega said. "It's just a matter of time."
The city plans to replace the ash trees with other species as funds become available. They've applied for grants, but if residents don't want to wait, they can get a boulevard tree planting permit, buy a tree and plant it themselves. Or for $125 the city will plant one this spring.
The city is not cutting down or treating ash trees on private property but encourages homeowners to start treating or plan to remove their ash trees. The city is also not removing ash trees in Hixon forest.
If you want more information on treatment or removal, you can log on to the city's Parks and Recreation Department website and click on Emerald Ash Borer.
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