James Rada, Jr.
Work is ongoing to try and save as many of the Community Park ash trees as possible. The trees were damaged by the emerald ash borer.
The town was able to get good pricing on the preservation of the trees, because the town piggybacked on other contracts for other municipalities.
Last year, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources identified 270 ash trees in the park. Of this amount 74 were determined to be “hazard trees” due to the damage that was caused to them by the emerald ash borer.
“It’s not the feeding on the leaves by the adults that damage and kill the trees, it’s the egg-laying process and then the nymphs when they hatch and they’re feeding under the bark and cambium tissue,” said Chris Klimas, with the Davy Tree Expert Company. The damaged trees can’t get enough water to replace what they lose due to evaporation, and so they die.
Not all of the hazard trees need to be removed. Forty-four trees were initially recommended for treatment, which involves injecting trees with Arbormectin. It takes about three days to disburse through the tree and will protect it for two years. Klimas said that the 44 trees that were treated are “looking very good.” They won’t need to be reinjected in 2018.
Some trees still need to be removed, but far fewer than originally expected. “A lot of the other trees are still hanging in there pretty good, which really amazed me because of the mortality on the other side of Route 15 on the mountains,” Klimas said.
However, he pointed out that the trees will soon start dying. The town has a six-month window once the trees start dying to remove the trees with climbers, rather than removing them with more-expensive means. So far, 48 trees have been removed.
Treatment will also be expanded to another 73 trees that can be treated and possibly saved. These trees will need to be retreated in 2019.
Some trees will eventually need to be removed, but treatment also helps with these trees by delaying their deaths. This will allow the town time to spread out the costs of removing the trees.
Klimas also recommended that the replanting of the lost trees start this fall. It was pointed out that the town has already replanted 75 trees in the park.
“I would definitely go with very diverse species,” Klimas suggested.
Some of the species he suggested include red oak, pin oak, maple, and tulip poplar. He said that two-inch to four-inch diameter trunks would probably be the best size, because these smaller trees survive transplant shock better.