La Crosse replacing lost ash trees - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse replacing lost ash trees

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) --- For months, the City of La Crosse removed ash trees infected by the Emerald Ash Borer. On Thursday, the city began to plant new trees in their place.

This time though, the city is taking a different approach to try to prevent this problem from happening again.

WXOW's Heather Armstrong followed a crew as they replanted for the future.

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In La Crosse, a city block without trees is an eye sore. The green and brown structures are more than just leaves, branches and bark but to those working hard to put them in the ground they are crucial to the environment.

"We have a lot of concrete in this city and whenever you go to a big city it's always a few degrees warmer  and everyone's sweating in the summer time. The trees actually keep the temperature a little lower. They keep the habitat, the butterflies, the birds," said Heather Quackenboss from the La Crosse Community Foundation. The Foundation provided money to purchase new trees.

Cindy Johnson from the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department said people don't realize the trees do more than make an area look better. "They provide so many benefits to our community whether it's waste water management or shade, utilities, everything. They beautify the area, improve property values and who doesn't love trees?"

While this may be the first time you're hearing of such a problem, to folks living in the area in the 80's this is nothing new. Back then, La Crosse experienced something similar.

"Dutch Elm Disease came around and killed all the elm trees and then they came in and planted all ash trees and then they all died off too," said Mike Nyre from WisCorps.

If you walk down a street in La Crosse, chances are you'll see a row of trees that are all the same, but that's what part of the problem was. So to combat that, the city decided to try a bio diversified approach. That means they'll plant a variety of trees so if one becomes infected they just replace that tree and not a whole street of trees.

There is no guarantee that the city won't experience another infestation of some kind, but there is a guarantee a whole city block won't
be wiped out if different trees are planted.

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