City to remove more than 500 ash trees

Th Imperiled trees would be replaced with other species using grant funds
by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Trees will be falling in the city over the next five years.

Specifically, the city will remove 506 ash trees in parks and along street right-of-ways in an effort to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Public Works Director William Immich outlined the plan for combating the destructive insect, which has been found within the city limits, for the City Council Tuesday.

Immich assured the council that the ash trees will be replaced by other trees as part of the program.

“The bad news is that the emerald ash borer was found within the city limits. The good news is we can apply for a grant now,” to help with the cost of removing the imperiled ash trees and replacing them with other trees, Immich explained.

The council approved an application for a cost-sharing grant from the Bay-Lakes Regional Planning Commission for the tree replacement program, with funding from the U.S. Forest Service and the Great Lake Restoration Initiative.

An EAB infestation was confirmed in several trees at the Plymouth wastewater treatment plant entrance on County PP earlier this summer.

Native to China, the borer was first found in the U.S. In the Detroit, Mich., area in 2002. It was first discovered in Wisconsin in Newburg in Washington County in 2008 and additional infestations have been identified around the state, including Sheboygan County, since.

Immich said that city officials met with officials from the state Department of Natural Resources after the EAB infestation in the city was confirmed.

“They recommend that we try to cut all the ash trees down in five years,” as the best and most effective means to combat the EAB infestation, Immich told the council.

When the borer was first discovered, the city got away from planting new ash trees as part of its tree program, Immich said. “Since 2004, we haven’t planted any new ash trees.”

However, a citywide tree census a few years later showed 506 ash trees on city property, including street right-ofways, Immich added.

That represents roughly 19 percent of the city-owned trees, according to Immich. Of those, 380 are in street right-of-ways and the rest are in parks and on other city property – including three at City Hall, he noted.

The initial grant funds will enable the city to purchase 136 new trees to replace ash trees being removed.

“Part of the grant is to diversify our tree stock, so we’ve picked out 15 different species,” for the replanting project, Immich said.

He added that the city’s effort will address only ash trees on city property, not those on private property.

Addressing property owners in the city, Immich said, “EAB isn’t going to pick on just city trees, it’s going to pick on your trees, too. Each homeowner has to deal with this individually,” if they have ash trees on their property.

City Administrator Brian Yerges said property owners concerned about ash trees on their property can go to datcpservices. wisconsin.gov/eab for more information.


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