Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

We’ve “covered our ash”

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A report on WCLO this morning tells of ongoing efforts by the city of Janesville to combat the emerald ash borer, which over the next few years likely will kill every untreated ash tree—except for the unaffected mountain ash—in Janesville. The city is setting up purple traps in some trees to monitor the spread of the borer and urges residents to not disturb the traps. The city will be planting hundreds of trees to replace ashes already cut down and those still to fall. It also will be treating some ash trees with insecticide.

On Tuesday, a staffer from K&W Greenery stopped by our home to treat our lone remaining ash tree. As I wrote here previously, last summer we cut down one large ash on our side terrace after learning it was dying of something other than ash borers. The job, stump removal and planting a new tree totaled more than $1,000.

The loss of that tree cost us lots of shade on the west side of our home, and we don’t want to lose the shade offered by the one still standing. So yesterday, the guy from K&W drilled about a dozen holes in the ash, inserted plastic plugs and then used these inserts to inject under the bark pesticide designed to kill any ash borer larvae.

As they like to say at K&W, we’ve now “covered our ash.”

The application—good for two years—costs $8 per inch of diameter of the trunk, measured at shoulder height. I learned at a K&W seminar on the ash borers that any tree more than 60 inches in circumference probably needs the protection offered by injections rather than insecticide mixed with water and poured around the base. Our big tree is about 85 inches around.

I wrote a check Tuesday for more than $244, including tax.

Last year, experts confirmed that emerald ash borers had infected an ash several blocks from our home. It likely wasn’t an isolated case, and I was concerned the borers might already have invaded our tree, but the K&W staffer looked over its greening canopy and guessed that even if the little insects have bugged our tree, the treatment could save it.

For $244, I sure hope so.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 9:20 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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