More than 2,500 ash trees were removed during 2015 in accordance with Madison’s adopted response plan to the emerald ash borer, according to a Common Council meeting Tuesday night.
The Emerald Ash Borer Task Force updated Madison Common Council with a presentation on the response plan to the invasive beetle species that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.
The exotic beetle was first discovered in Michigan during the summer of 2002. Madison developed a task force to respond to the emerald ash borer in 2008 and adopted its plan in 2012. The first emerald ash borer-infested tree was found in November 2013 on the city’s north side.
Since then, task force has been fighting the invasive species using four recommendations outlined in their 2012 plan: implementing a treatment program for terrace trees, preemptively removing trees in poor conditions, removing trees under power safety lines during maintenance projects and giving citizens the chance to chemically treat trees through an “Adopt-A-Tree” program.
The first recommendation, treatment, only applies to trees that are 10 inches in diameter at breast height and not in poor condition or under power lines, according to the plan. The 2013 goal was to treat every treatable tree in two years.
“We have treated every single ash tree that is considered treatable, according to the treatment criteria,” said City Forester Marla Eddy. “We did that within two years. We met that goal.”
The treatment cycle was originally meant to take two years, but in 2016 the cycle will switch to three years.
“We [found] from studies from the forest service and from UW entomologist Chris Williamson that this product is good for a three-year treatment cycle,” Eddy said.
The city was able to treat a total of 5,827 ash trees in 2015, a 1,771 tree increase from 2014. The “Adopt-A-Tree” program also saved 90 trees.
As part of the mitigation plan, the city will replant over 1,700 ash trees. Delivery of these trees will begin in 2018 and will continue through 2023, according to the update.