Janesville to host discussion on ash borer

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Marcia Nelesen
Sunday, October 6, 2013

JANESVILLE--Janesville residents who have ash trees on their properties or who have opinions on the city's plan to fight the emerald ash borer can attend a public meeting Tuesday.

The meeting will include a panel discussion by experts.

The ash borer was discovered in Janesville in 2012. The beetle kills any untreated ash tree.

The city budgeted $107,675 to fight the bug in the 2013 budget, believing the city owned 15,000 ash trees.

Recently, the city did an inventory of its trees and staff discovered it has only 386 ash trees on city property in developed areas.

Workers counted another 2,025 ash trees on street terraces. Even though the terraces are owned by the city, the trees are the homeowners' responsibilities.

The city is now doing a comprehensive ash tree inventory, which will include tree sizes and types, said Rebecca Smith, city management assistant.

The city's strategy has changed from proactively cutting down trees and protecting a select few trees to protecting all the city-owned ash trees it deems worth saving.

Ash trees that are small or in poor condition will not be treated.

“EAB is an evolving issue, and as we spend more time learning about it, the direction can change,” Smith said.

So far, a contractor has injected 130 of the 386 trees with Tree-age, the product deemed by experts as the most effective in combating the beetle.

The treatment should last two to three years before another injection is needed.

City employees treated another 75 trees by drenching the ground around them with chemicals, but this treatment must be reapplied every year.

The city will also plant 100 trees this fall.

The proposed 2014 forestry budget is $42,873.

The money would be used to:

-- Certify park employees so they can apply chemicals

-- Continue paying a forestry intern

-- Complete the street terrace inventory

-- Retreat the 75 trees with soil drenching

-- Treat or inject another 50 trees

-- Remove infested trees that have not been treated

-- Plant 100 trees

The goal of Tuesday's meeting is to share information about the emerald ash borer, Smith said.

JATV will record the meeting so residents can watch it on cable or online.

Experts who will be present include:

-- Chris Williamson, professor of entomology from UW-Madison

-- Rebecca Lane, forester in Oak Creek

-- Mark Guthmiller, forest health specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Residents can ask questions of the speakers, pick up materials and comment on Janesville's approach to the infestation.

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