09/24/12 The City’s Urban Forestry and Flower Committee met for their second meeting on Wednesday, September 19th in the council chambers of City Hall.

The first order of business was to review their suggestions of the current tree ordinance the city has.  The ordinance mentions a large scale map of the city noting the various trees and locations on city property.  A city does not currently have a map but Street Superintendent Jim Marquardt said he would work on acquiring one for the city.

Ash trees are a big concern not only of the committee but of the state.  Committee member Steve Listenberger has already identified about 70% of the ash trees on city property.

Sharon Black-Anderson from ArborMetrics gave a presentation on the Emerald Ash Borer.   A tree in Centennial Park has been determined by specialists to have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer.  The tree was cut down and burned.

Black-Anderson explained that there are only two way to cope with the Ash Borer.  The Ash trees need to be treated or destroyed.  She said the ash borers will eat every Ash tree in the area before they move on to the south and west to look for more food.  It takes one to three years for a tree to die after it becomes infested.

Treatment for the trees is costly and must be done annually for two to three years.  Cost varies on the diameter of the tree from $20 up to $120 per tree each year.  Prevention would be to cut all the city’s ash trees down and burn them or mulch them into pieces that must be no bigger than ½ inch.

The City of Plymouth has a fairly large inventory of Ash trees.  The arborist said next season at least 50% of the trees will be infested.

It was recommended that the city select a few prize or heritage ash trees that haven’t been infected and treat them and destroy the rest.   Black-Anderson said, “This is a terrible monster,” referring to the Ash Borer.  The birds don’t like them and insecticides don’t kill them.

Plymouth isn’t the only community facing issued with the Emerald Ash Borer.  Valparaiso has tagged 400 trees that have been infested and Fort Wayne has already decided to destroy 18,000 trees.

Although the City’s Tree Committee can work on the management of trees on city property,  private citizens should also consider treating their ash trees or cutting them and burning them.

The Urban Forestry and Flower Committee is currently working on becoming a Tree City USA.  With that distinction comes the ability to obtain grant money to assist with the Ash Borer and tree mapping projects.

It was suggested that an information sheet be included water bills so citizens can be informed on the Emerald Ash Borer.

Since a tree in the township has been certified as infected with the Ash Borer, Center Township is now in quarantine.  That means no wood is to be brought into or taken out of the township.

Sharon Black-Anderson said that when the new maps come out toward the end of the year the entire Marshall County will be in quarantine.