Volunteers work to restore Indy's tree population

Ash borer bug is killing thousands of trees

INDIANAPOLIS - Hundreds of volunteers joined together to plant more than 100 trees to help restore the city’s canopy Saturday afternoon.

Local forestry experts said a bug is killings the city’s tree canopy, and they are facing an uphill battle.

Volunteers and employees with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful helped to plant trees near the 38th Street median on the city’s west side.

“They have done a fantastic job selecting seven different varieties that they know will thrive in this type of situation,” said City-County Councilor Janice McHenry.

Experts said central Indiana’s recent snowstorm and the subsequent ground moisture will help give the roots of the new trees a nice jumpstart.

Just as soon as they went into the ground, other trees were being pulled from the environment as the emerald ash borer continues it’s assault on the Indianapolis canopy.

“It’s wiping out pretty much every single ash tree, unless, of course, the ash trees have been treated,” said Andrew Hart of KIB.

Hart is KIB’s director of urban forestry and said the Indianapolis environment should have a 40 percent canopy cover to get all of the benefits that those trees provide.

He said the city is actually only 23 percent covered now, and it’s getting worse with every ash tree forced to meet a chainsaw.

“We’re losing thousands and thousands of Ash trees. We plan about 4,000 trees a year and we’re doing what we can, but quite frankly, we need to do a good bit more here in the city,” Hart said.

“We thought we would just come in, dig a hole, throw a tree in it and put some dirt on it, but we actually learned about the culture of trees, different things that could harm it as well as help it, so it was very educational as well,” said volunteer Larry Arnold.

Organizers focused the planting efforts on the west side while crews continued removing hundreds of dead ash trees on the city's north side.


Follow Chance Walser on Twitter: @chancewalserrtv


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