If you spot a green ribbon on a tree, it probably doesn’t show support for a particular charity. It likely means that tree is marked to be cut down due to an invasive insect.
Tobias Tempelmeyer, city administrator in Beatrice, says city crews are marking ash trees on city property to remove due to the advance of the emerald ash borer.
“For those of you not familiar with this, it’s a little bug that’s been found in Nebraska,” Tempelmeyer says. “If this bug gets to your ash trees, your ash trees will die within the next three or four years.”
The ash borer kills about 90% of the trees it infests and ash trees comprise about 5% of the city’s stock of trees.
“Luckily for us, it’s a relatively small number of ash trees,” he says. “Percentage-wise, it’s still a large number of ash trees when you see them, when they start getting them marked.”
Some cities in Nebraska are spending considerable money to address the problem, namely, cutting the trees down before the insects get to them. Beatrice is considering a tree replacement program using species other than ash.
The Nebraska Forest Service says there are millons of ash trees statewide. The estimated cost for removal, disposal, and replacement of dead ash trees on public and private land in Nebraska is about $960 million, while the public lands portion of that is $275 million.
“If you read through all of the literature, they want you to cut down the tree and burn it on site,” Tempelmeyer says, “and there’s concern with people having those trees at their own houses, do you do something for them?”
Emerald ash borers emerge from under the bark of ash trees during late spring and early summer, chewing their way out of the tree. The female bugs lay eggs in the crevices of ash tree bark and the larvae then chew their way into the tree. The larvae can grow to about an inch-and-a-half in length.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice