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City scales back planting as ash borer infestation nears its peak PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 19:51

Port to plant 326 trees next year, continue cutting dead ash in public areas

    Port Washington will plant 326 trees along its streets next year —far fewer than the 617 planted this year, officials learned last month.
    “I’m scaling back a little to put an emphasis on pruning,” City Forester Jon Crain told the Common Council Nov. 21.
    Of the trees being planted, 220 will replace trees along the city’s streets, many of them victims of the emerald ash borer.
    “I think after this year we’re over the hump,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.
    Crain said that the city is in about year nine of the emerald ash borer infestation.
    “In the next several years, everything’s going to be dead,” Crain said, “if it hasn’t been treated.”
    The city has treated 546 ash trees along the streets, he said, only losing about 6% of those treated.
    “I’m extremely happy with the success rate,” Crain added.
    Eventually, when the borer population is small enough, Crain said he will stop treating the ash trees.
    Right now, he said, the city needs to concentrate on taking down dying ash trees in natural areas, such as along the bike path, so they don’t fall and injure pedestrians.
    That work will likely begin next momth in the area near Guenther Pond, Crain said.
    The remainder of the new trees will be planted along streets that are being reconstructed and in new subdivisions, he said.
    The city is planting 20 varieties of trees next year, Crain said, from such traditional species as maples, oaks and elms to flowering trees like lilacs and pear trees.
    A few of the trees are more unusual, Crain said, such as the musclewood tree, a low-growing species ideal to grow under wires.
    The number of trees species has increased considerably in recent years, Crain said.
    “We’ve got almost 60 varieties planted just on the streets,” he said.
    This year, he said, street department crews will be planting bare-root and container-grown trees. The container-grown trees will be planted in fall, Crain said, and the bare-root stock in spring.
    The $29,547 needed to purchase the trees will come from the city’s operating budget, funds paid by developers of new subdivisions and the street reconstruction borrowing.
    Next month, Crain said, he will seek to buy about 500 trees to plant in the nursery being developed by the city. Daily Press