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News From 91.3 KUWS
Emerald ash borer may be treated in Superior
Last month Superior confirmed its first case of the emerald ash borer. Since then officials have found a couple different options to treat the city’s 3000 ash trees. Jessica Hamilton reports.
City Forester Mary Morgan says the city council will be reviewing a few options at its October 1 meeting. Already 100 trees have been removed from Superior since the infestation was confirmed.
“They might have, fifty percent of the canopy has died, or they might be leaning out over a street or leaning toward a home. Or they might have some vertical cracks in the bark and in the trunk that we think is going to present a problem in to the future.”
Morgan says the two main options for treatment are removing the infected ash trees and replacing them with a different type. The second option is new. It’s using a chemical called Triage which treats trees by killing ash bore larva. She says that’s been fairly effective in Milwaukee. The problem is cost.
“It’s affordable in Milwaukee because they train a staff of 30 seasonal people, they apply it themselves, so in their case it’s very affordable. In our case, we’re also working on parks and boat launches and ball fields so we are likely to recommend contracting out that service.”
Morgan says that adds to the cost of the treatment that would already be in the $100,000 dollar range.
She says the city council will have to make a decision soon about what to do with this infestation because it has spread to other areas in Superior.
“We have had some hot spots in the Ogden and John area, 1700 block to 1900 block, N 21st Street and on Caitlin Avenue.”
Brule Area DNR Forestry Supervisor Jay Gallagher says their main concern is if it spreads to the Douglas County forest where there’s a large ash tree population. Gallagher says it’s not the bug that is the real reason behind the spread.
“The insect doesn’t move very fast. That’s one thing. It moves quite slowly, just the flying distance. The reason it gets moved quicker is by human beings moving their firewood around. That’s how we really focus on that, is the information and education part.”
As for neighboring Bayfield, Washburn and Burnett Counties, Gallagher says now that the county is under quarantine, he hopes the spread of insect will slow down. This is the only method the DNR and Douglas County is keeping the emerald ash borer at bay.
Bayfield County Administrator Mark Abeles-Allison says they've alerted their forestry staff and local leaders about the Douglas County quarantine. Of Bayfield County's 170,000 acres of forest land, one percent or 1700 acres has ash trees.
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