Emerald ash borer continues assault on Indiana's ash trees

DPW taking down more than 500 trees in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The invasive emerald ash borer continues its assault on Indiana's tree line, and some forestry experts say this year could be devastating for native ash trees.

Muncie's Urban Forester Kellie McClellan says the invasion started around 2001, and since then, the little beetle has done mega damage to central Indiana's Ash tree population.

"We are pretty upset about it, but we knew it was coming," McClellan said.

The beetle burrows into the tree, deposits a deadly larva, then leaves.

McClellan suspects 2013 will bring maximum ash tree loss for Muncie, and those who live there will notice.

"This spring when the trees are supposed to leaf out, I think there will be a lot of people surprised when their ash trees don't leaf out or, if it does, the top third of the tree might not leaf out," McClellan said.

This week, some streets on Indianapolis' northeast side will be restricted while crews remove close to 500 trees.

"Heading into spring and summer with higher wind conditions and tornado season, it is just a responsible and a preventative measure to go ahead and remove these trees now," said Stephanie Sample, with the Department of Public Works.

The DPW says its tree removal project is expected to take about three months.

McClellan said the infected trees could pose a danger if they aren't taken down.

"When you have dead wood two inches in diameter or larger falling from that height, it could potentially kill someone," McClellan said.

The beetles are slow movers, but notorious hitch hikers, so experts recommend not transferring pallets or other cut wood from one place to another.

 

Follow Chance Walser on Twitter: @chancewalserrtv

 

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