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Brodhead keeping an eye on ash borer

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Gina Duwe
February 6, 2013

What is it? People passing through downtown Brodhead might notice yellow caution tape wrapped around several ash trees in Veterans Memorial Park. The city is hoping to attract people's attention to get them to attend a Saturday meeting about the emerald ash borer, said Rich Vogel, public works director for the city.

"We thought if we just mark a few of the ash trees in the downtown area, where everybody sees these trees are all in danger, maybe people will take the situation more seriously," he said. "The reaction was overwhelming."

What happens at the meeting? The meeting is open to the public, including residents from outside Brodhead. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Brodhead Memorial Public Library, 1207 25th St.

The meeting will provide information about the emerald ash borer, what to watch for and some options for dealing with the insect, which infests and destroys ash trees.

"We found that there's a lot of people that don't know anything about emerald ash borer or have some wrong information on it," Vogel said. "We just want to give people a little idea of the treatments out there. Some work better than others."

Where is the insect? It was found in Rock and Walworth counties last year.

"While it hasn't been spotted in Green County, as a community we've been preparing for the last couple years," Vogel said.

How much damage could it do in Brodhead? To prep for the impending invasion, the city conducted an inventory of ash trees, along with the trees' structural and health conditions. The city had 466 ash trees on terraces and another 50 in the parks. The city doesn't know how many ash trees are on private properties.

What is the city doing with the trees? "We took a plan of attack where we would remove as many of the poor condition ash trees as possible before the ash borer was in the area," Vogel said.

In the last two years, crews have removed about 60 of the city's weakest ash trees. The inventory also helped city workers gain awareness of which trees are best suited for treatment. The city could start treatment on some trees early this spring, Vogel said. A replanting project also has started.

"We've been trying to increase the number of trees we plant on the terraces," Vogel said. The new trees include a variety of species.

The city has funded ash borer preparations through matching forestry grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In the last two years, the city collected more than $10,000 in grants, Vogel said.



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