Written by CAROL POMEDAY
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 16:08
Belgium decides to cut down hundreds of ash trees before insect strikes; new species to be planted
The Village of Belgium plans to cut down all its ash trees, including those that appear healthy, in an effort to stop the spread of the emerald ash borers. Officials are encouraging homeowners to do the same or undertake efforts to protect them against the destructive beetle.
“One has been found in the Town of Belgium. It’s here, we just don’t know it,” said Village President Rich Howells, who is a member of the Tree Board.
“The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) suggests removing the trees.”
The village will apply for a DNR forestry grant to help pay the cost of removing and replacing the trees, he said.
Howells estimates there are 500 to 700 ash trees in the village with about 200 of them village-owned street or park trees.
The first trees to be taken down will be those on Main Street, he said, because the trees will be removed and replaced when the street is reconstructed, which is scheduled for 2015, but could be as late as 2017 (see related story).
The Tree Board will mark every ash tree owned by the village, so residents will be aware which trees will eventually be removed, Howells said.
The Tree Board plans to develop a policy for gradually removing and replacing the trees for the Sept. 9 Village Board meeting.
“We’ll come up with a plan to do this smartly,” Howells said. “We’ll divide the village into sections, mark the trees and systematically take down maybe 10% per year.
“We can’t afford to take down 200 trees in one year. We’ll replace them as we can, but it won’t be every one. It’ll probably be 12 to 14 (a year) like we normally do.”
There will be articles in the village newsletter about the emerald ash borer and links to a YouTube video developed by the DNR that shows the damage done by the emerald ash borer and treatments available to protect trees. The video encourages municipalities to remove ash trees in an effort to stop the spread of the insect and replace them with other trees.
“We’ll have lots of information so people can make an informed decision (about their trees),” Howells said.
The City of Port Washington is treating its healthy ash trees with chemicals to protect them against the emerald ash borer and cutting down those that are infested. They are encouraging homeowners to do the same.