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Invasive Species

City Forced To Cut Down Ash Trees

Ash trees along Falconer Street will be cut down because of the invasive species known as the emerald ash borer. City officials are planning to cut down 176 of the 195 ash trees on city property because of the invasive species. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Almost all of the ash trees in the city’s urban forest will be cut down in the coming weeks.

On Monday, Dan Stone, city arborist, told the Jamestown City Council that employees from the Parks Department will be cutting down more than 170 ash trees on city property because of the invasive species known as the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is an insect originating from China that uses the ash tree as food when it is in the larval stage. The larva will burrow through the tree, cutting off food and water from reaching all areas of the tree causing it to eventually die.

Stone said emerald ash borer was first discovered in New York in Randolph about 10 years ago. He said in 2008 the city had 400 ash trees. Today, he said there are 195, of which 176 will be cut down. He added that the emerald ash borer doesn’t attack other types of trees.

Most of the ash trees in the city were planted in the mid-1990s, Stone said. He said about 10 years ago, when the problem with the invasive species was discovered, city officials stopped planting ash trees. He added that the parks department has been preparing and planning for the cut down.

“We knew we were going to have to do this one day,” Stone said.

Stone said trees will be cut down along Euclid Avenue, Falconer Street, Prendergast Avenue, Prospect Street, Sampson, South Main Street and West Seventh Street. He said city employees will be removing the trees during the next couple weeks. He added that people living in houses near where trees will be removed will be receiving a letter from city officials explaining the situation.

The contaminated wood cut down will be made into chips, Stone said. He said city officials will try to replace the trees with other species, which may take some time because of the cost of purchasing a new tree is around $100. He added Parks Department employees will be cutting down the additional 176 trees to go along with the 200 to 300 they normally cut down each year.

Sam Teresi said the tree cutting is necessary because city officials don’t want trees falling on structures, vehicles power lines and, especially, people. He said city officials cannot go on private property to cut down trees for homeowners, but they can provide advice.

More than 13,000 city-owned trees line Jamestown streets. The total does not include the trees in city parks. People can make a tax-deductible donation toward the city’s urban forestry fund through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation by sending a check to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, 418 Spring St., Jamestown, NY 14701. For more information, visit crcfonline.org or jamestownny.net.

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