St. Paul vs. The Emerald Ash Borer

Next week, forestry crews will start cutting down boulevard ash trees in selected areas of St. Paul as part of a broader strategy to slow the spread of emerald ash borers.

They expect to remove about 355 non-diseased but generally declining ashes over two months in wards 6 and 7 on the East Side. All the trees are on public property. Right now, the concentration will be on boulevard tries and in the future it may move to parks.

The work is being funded through a $722,600 state grant aimed at helping cities cope with invasive emerald ash borers. The insects were found last spring in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Ash borers will likely spread to many of Minnesota's estimated 940 million ash trees.

The work will be done away from the infested area on the west side of the city. Removing healthy trees in the infected areas would simply force hungry beetles elsewhere and would hasten their spread. In the spring, crews expect to focus their efforts on removing diseased trees in the infested area.

Ash trees make up about 30% of Saint Paul's tree canopy, with more than 30,000 of them just on boulevards. Last year, 83 diseased trees were found and removed in St. Paul and Falcon Heights.

The city is distributing pamphlets explaining the tree-removal process to affected area residents.
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